Rewind the clock six years to Parthenay, France, December 2010. The Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, which also contains more commonly known cities such as Bordeaux and La Rochelle, was where I spent my senior year of high school as a study abroad student.
The memory I’d like to share was on my friend Hannah’s farm, a pastry chef from New Zealand. At the time it was her 18th birthday and we spent much of it in the kitchen preparing for her party. The most memorable moment was learning and making her cake; a pavlova.
There’s a muddled history, with countries playing tug-of-war on who was the real creator of the cake. Basically, what New Zealanders have been saying for years is that the chef who cooked for Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, as she toured the country in the 1920s, made the meringue-esque dessert in her honor finding inspiration in the fluffy tutu.
Ever since learning the technique & recipe, I’ve been hooked. Sometimes a regular birthday cake just doesn’t cut it.
This particular recipe is a personal creation, where I make a chocolate & vanilla marble pavlova layer cake with coconut-caramel filling and chantilly cream topping.
6 egg whites
2 cups of granulated sugar
1/4 cup coco powder
1.5 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1 TBSP cornstarch
pinch of salt
Coconut Caramel Filling:
1/2 cup granulated coconut sugar sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
4 TSBP butter
spalsh of cream
1/4 cup shredded raw coconut
salt to taste
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
- Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- In one bowl, whip egg whites until you just start noticing that the liquid has disappeared, should be white but not holding a peak. Adding spoonfuls at a time, start adding the 2 cups of sugar. Beat until thick and glossy.
- Fold in lemon juice, vanilla, salt, coco powder & cornstarch.
- Spoon the mixture onto the sheet pans making identical round shapes.
- *** Here you can take additional coco powder and swirl it in to give it a design element.
- Bake for an hour. Once done, leave it in the oven (turned off) to cool, leaving the door slightly cracked to relieve the hot air. This will allow the pavlova to form a better crust.
- Add sugar and water into a pan dissolving the sugar before you bring it to a boil.
- Once boiling for 3-5 minutes, add butter & cream.
- Stir/whisk for another 3-5 minutes on low heat until thick.
- Take off heat and stir in salt & coconut.
- Whip cream until firm but not finished.
- Add in sugar & pinch of salt & whip it in until it creates hard peaks.
On a platter, place one of the disks of pavlova down as the base. Crack down the middle if it didn’t fall naturally, leaving the edges a little higher. Cover this space with the coconut-caramel. ***You can additionally add fruit of your preference. Place the second pavlova piece on top, covering it with the cream and sprinkling coco powder over the top.
As always, enjoy.
xo Mademoiselle Goe