You just cannot beat a pav in summer, and in particular this dark beauty. The crisp and chewy chocolate meringue base, rich in cocoa and beaded nuggets of chopped plain chocolate, provides a somber, almost purple-brown layer beneath the fat whiteness of the cream and matte, glowering crimson raspberries on top: it is a killer combination.
- 6 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 very full pint raspberries
- 2-3 tablespoons coarsely grated bittersweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Mound onto a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 9 inches in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 300°F and cook for about one to one and a quarter hours. When it’s ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the center you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue disk cool completely.
When you’re ready to serve, invert onto a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries. Coarsely grate the chocolate so that you get curls rather than rubble, as you don’t want the raspberries’ luscious color and form to be obscured, and sprinkle haphazardly over the top, letting some fall, as it will, on the plate’s rim.
This recipe serves 10.