So, inspired by Martha's latest spread on the glory of egg whites, I ripped a couple of pages out of 'Living' and tried my hand at a mini version of her Chocolate Pavlova. Because the chocolate filling called for approximately 20 yolks and because I had neither heavy cream nor whole milk on hand, I thought I'd just swap out the filling for a low fat chocolate mousse recipe I had saved from a 'Cook's Country' some time back. First, you must start with the mousse.
Low Fat Chocolate Mousse (courtesy of Cook's Country)
2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped up (a hershey's dark from the check-out line works well for this)
2-3 Tbsp white chocolate chips or chopped bits
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa
3 Tbsp water (plus another 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
1 really large or 2 medium egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1. Place the chocolates, vanilla, cocoa, and 3 T water into a small saucepan. Melt over VERY LOW heat just until you can whisk it all together without any major bumps. Transfer to a large bowl, and let it hang out to cool.
2. In another small saucepan (or the
one you've just used, washed out), place 1/4c sugar and 1/4c water. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, and boil until slightly thickened and large bubbles rise to the top, about 4 minutes. It should look something like that (-->). Take off heat and cool a bit.
3. In yet another bowl, beat the egg white(s) on medium low speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and increase speed to medium-high, until you get soft peaks. [This means, when you take the beaters out, there is a soft mound left behind: not stiff, but definitely there.] With the mixer running, stream in the syrup, trying to keep it away from the beaters, so you don't lose your syrup in a losing battle against the ricochet spin-action. You will never win. Once the syrup is all in, pump up the jams to high and beat until the meringue is thick and shiny, about 2 more minutes.
4. Finally, pour about 1/3 of the meringue into the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine (that's right, I said whisk). Add the rest of the meringue, mix it up good, cover it in plastic and let it sit a long, long time. At least 6 hours or overnight. It will last 4 days if you want to do it a while. Now, for the pavlova....
Martha's recipe "serves 8–10", so here's a smaller version:
Chocolate Pavlova (courtesy of Martha Stewart Living)
2 egg whites, room temp
2 Tbsp brown sugar (dark, if you like)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp white sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1. Preheat oven to 300. Line a baking sheet with parchment and draw a 6-inch circle on it. Flip the paper.
2. Mix egg whites, sugars, and salt in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly, until sugars are dissolved, your arm is cramped and you have given up on wanting the meringue altogether, about 3 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and hit the eggs with an electric mixer (med-hi) until you get stiff peaks. [This means, when you lift the beaters out of the whites, they leave a little mountain behind, like so...] Beat in the vanilla.
4. Sift the cocoa powder over the (now) meringue and fold until barely any streaks remain. Folding can be tricky: the thing to remember is that you want to preserve all those little air bubbles you just made by whipping the egg whites. Scrape around the outside of the bowl, folding in toward the middle. Be patient.
5. Spread the meringue into your parchment circle and make a well in the center with the back of a spoon. Bake until dry to the touch, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let it hang out until it's cool in there, another hour more.
It is quite simple. RIGHT before you're ready to serve, slather the mousse into the pavlova and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar or get fancy with some chocolate curls. Crunchy and chewy, plus deeply chocolate--it's a winner.