Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Chocolate Hazelnut Pavlova a la Prue
This is going to be a recipe post of sorts. A dear reader asked for the chocolate hazelnut pavlova recipe and I wish I could add a link, but really I just made it up. But I am happy to oblige so here is the recipe a la Prue. I can even promise that it will be step by step, just like a Women's Weekly recipe, and it will have some pictures like ALL good WW recipes. But unlike recipes from any WW book it isn't triple tested. Recipes to me (except for pasta dough and biscuits from the WW ones) are a guideline, a starting point, an idea. I don't follow them religiously and I'm pretty poor at measuring in most cases. I play with them, make up my own, and measurements are certainly flexible. So with the 'recipe' I give here feel free to add your own flair, play with measurements and generally do as you please. Because I do, and it is a lot of fun.
Chocolate Hazelnut Pavlova - twice taste tested and met with approval.
I used different measurements each time for this and both worked out well. Don't follow them exactly if you think I am a bit out. Use your own thoughts, and go with your instincts if you want a bigger or smaller amount. I'll also break this up into its three component parts to make it easier but the overall ingredient list is:
6 Eggs separated
2 - 2.5 cups castor sugar (it depends on how sweet you like your custard, but the sugar in the meringues is a little less negotiable)
1 pkt hazelnut meal - (the 175gram or 150 gram one is best)
Cocoa - 1-2 tablespoon cup or more, depending on how much you like cocoa. You can use drinking chocolate instead of this if you feel so inclined.
1 block of really dark chocolate (99% Lindt is amazing in this, the bitter the better because this does tend to be super sweet but cooking dark chocolate or even milk will work just fine, simply add less sugar to the custard)
Milk - 500mls give or take
Cornflour - 1-2 tablspoons
Vanilla sugar (optional, but it goes amazingly in the meringue and in the custard too)
Chocolate bits and other chocolate goodies like flake, caramello. No set amount, just cram them on top!
Base - Hazelnut Pavlova
From the ingredients listed above you'll need the:
6 egg whites
1.5 cups castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (optional but super amazing in ANY meringue. I get mine from Gewurzhaus on Lygon Street and it is delicious.)
This is the meringue bit, and I took inspiration on ratios and timings and temperatures from a lemon curd pav recipe and meringue I used to make as a child from the WW Beautiful Biscuits book. That's the old '80s version, not the new fangled version so you'll need to get lucky at an op shop or school fete to get your hands on one of those. Or there is always ebay.
Step 1 - Put 6 eggs whites (or as many as you want, just remember it is one cup of castor sugar for every four egg whites) in a bowl and beat until soft peaks form. You will want an electric beater for this, or at least a horde of willing helpers because you will be beating for a LONGGGGGGGGGGGGGG time. If they are firm peaks don't stress, this is fine too. You be the judge.
Step 2 - Gradually add castor sugar (and vanilla sugar it you have decided to use it) to the stiff egg whites, about 1/4 a cup at a time, beating constantly at a mid-high beat. The recipe says 1 tablespoon at a time but I'm never that patient. Basically you want to let it begin to dissolve, and evenly distribute, hence you don't dump all the sugar in at one time.
Step 3 - Once all the castor sugar is in beat it on high for 15 minutes. I kid you not, 15 minutes. This seems like ages but it will make it one glossy and firm meringue - and you will need it firm particularly as you are about to do steps 4 and 5.
Step 4 - Add in 1/4 cup cocoa or drinking chocolate, whatever you have on hand and mix it a bit.
Step 5 - Discard the beaters, and lick the tastey, tastey meringue off them if you wish (don't forget to unplug the thing first or risk tongue amputation.) Dump all the hazelnut meal into the meringue mixture and fold it through with a wooden spoon. It'll take a little while to mix in but you can be a bit rough with it. If you've beaten it for 15 minutes your arm will be pretty tired anyway so you probably don't have the strength left to stuff it up.
Step 6 - Place the mixture onto a big baking tray that has been lined with baking paper. Forgot the baking paper or don't have any??? Then never fear, a swipe of butter or oil, and a sprinkle of cornflour will help make the meringue not stick to the tray. Pile it up high, and pile it up evenly. You could draw a 20cm circle in the paper and make sure you meringue between the lines but I am far too lazy for that - and besides no matter how pretty it is, this sucker is going to sink a bit anyway.
Step 7 - In the oven it goes, at 150C for 15 minutes, then 120C for 45-50 minutes. After that's over turn the oven off and leave the pav in there to cool. This makes it super and crispy on the outside, but moist in the middle. While that's cooling I'd suggest having a long cup of tea, maybe a bit of a read or watch some West Wing (I think that's what we were watching at the time.) It is going to take a few hours so take the time to chill out. All relaxed - good - then it is on to making the custard.
You don't have to make chocolate custard just for this recipe. Chocolate custard it is delicious at any time. Custard is delicious at any time. And if you don't want to separate eggs then you don't need to. I just use whole eggs when I'm making custard on its own and it works just fine. But here is the recipe for this layer and these are the ingredients you will need from the list:
those 6 remaining egg yolks (keep them at room temp, they'll be fine)
1/2 cup -1 cup castor sugar depending on how bitter/sweet your chocolate it and how sweet you like your custard. I like really dark bitter chocolate with about 2/3 cup of castor sugar.
Milk - 500mls but you don't have to be too exact
Cornflour - 1-2 tablspoons
Vanilla - 1big gulp (1 teaspoon for those counting at home)
Vanilla sugar (optional, but it also goes well in the custard)
1 block of really dark chocolate
* Now if you want to be super cocky you can put some cognac or kahlua in this custard. You could add it with step 1. It is super decadent and totally awesome. Except that this is a teetotal blog, so for this year at least I'm going without the alcohol in this recipe.
Step 1 - Put milk, vanilla sugar, vanilla and castor sugar in a medium saucepan on the stove over medium temperature until sugar(s) is/are dissolved. You do want to stir this a bit while it is heating, but no need to be obsessive. I always do step 2 while I'm doing step 1 in this recipe. You want this milk to be quite warm, almost hot, but if it is boiling you'll have to let it cool down or your custard will be a curdled mess. I'd like to say a little more than baby bottle warm is the temp you need, so I will say it. You can add a tablespoon or two of cocoa to the milk too if you like, or even drinking chocolate, but you don't have to. My tea/coffee/hot chocolate section is in easy reach of my stove so it usually leads me to experimental chocolate additions.
Step 2 - While the milk mix is cooking, whisk egg yolks and cornflour vigourously in a large(ish) bowl. It'll go pale after a few minutes so whisk it until it is that colour and lump free.
Step 3 - Add the heated milk to the egg mix very slowly, in a fine stream, whisking constantly. I borrow the lovely other half to help out with this part as I am a bit too unco to get the flow right. But you can do it on your own (ihave, but shhhhh don't tell him that.) Make sure you whisk the mix the entire time to make sure it combines. Adding the hot ingredient to the cold ingredient reduces the chance of curdling.
Step 4 - Once it is all whisked and mixed and probably super frothy (don't worry that froth will go down eventually) add it back to the saucepan you heater the milk in and put it back on the stove, low-med heat. Stir/mix the custard for a few minutes, sometimes lots of minutes, it depends - but until it starts to thicken. You might be stirring for a while thinking goodness ... hurry up ... will this mix ever thicken ... has it thickened and I just don't know it??? - but don't worry, when it happens you will know and it will be a noticeable difference.
Step 5 - Once thickened take it off the stove and mix in the broken up block of chocolate. Stir continuously until combined and then transfer to a container for cooling.
Any container will do really. And that's your custard done.
Chocolate top - and custard middle and pav bottom
Ingredients - the other two bits you just made, cooled and ready to go.
Any chocolate stuff you want on top and I mean ANY CHOCOLATE STUFF!
Berries - yeah you could add berries, but why bother, this is a chocoholics wet dream so don't water it down with something healthy
Assemble the thing shortly before serving, or at the very least only a few hours before. It will keep just fine in the fridge but it will sink and smush together. It is still tasty, but it gets a little moist and the pavlova turns into more of a torte.
Step 1 - Place the pav base on a serving plate or simply the biggest plate you can find.
Step 2 - Put the custard on top of the pav base, covering it generously. Use a spoon, a knife, whatever you feel like. It is like icing a cake but more tastey.
Step 3 - Arrange chocolate bits on top of the pav. Keep adding more and more, don't be stingey. Add white chocolate bits too, and some of the good stuff your mum keeps hidden that she thinks you don't know about but you totally do. Add in last year's liquer chocolate from christmas - they'll be treasure bombs for the over 18s who aren't on a teeltotal year.
Step 4 - serve and enjoy and try to avoid a diabetic coma from eating more than one slice.
I've probably not explained this overly well, and it is darn wordy, so feel free to ask any questions in the comments section or seek clarification.