raspberry smores pavlova

While I love to cook and spend time in the kitchen, every now and then I get inspired to do something completely new. Not just like a variation of an old favorite - totally new. I felt this urge right around the 4th of July... so yes, this posting is nearly a month late.

I wanted to make something fun, different, and relatively seasonal. Just about this time I came across an Instagram of the perfect thing. A smores pavlova dessert. It would be relatively light but sugar sweet. Plus, it would give me the chance to use some of the fresh chicken eggs from my parents backyard. Fresh ingredients = best ingredients.

The slight hiccup here is that the pavlova base is essentially whipped egg whites - and these give me some mild cooking anxiety. I never know when I've screwed up, should just whip longer, or am on the right track. Plus without my standing mixer, the whole thing would also make my triceps a bit sore. But it all felt worth it. I think the original recipe said like 7-10 minutes and mine took 2-3 times longer than that.

All in, this dessert is super easy to make. Yes, there are several steps and some of it is a bit technical. But essentially it can be spread out over a few days if needed and you will love the outcome.

A few hints and caveats:

  • No parchment. Ideally, you need parchment for a project like this. But I wasn't about to go to the store on the 3rd of July. Just spray some PAM on foil and you'll be good to go. I was apprehensive but it worked just fine.
  • "Toasting": I didn't have a torch to create the smores effect with the frosting. I figured there must be a way around this and there was. Just hold the pan just under your broiler for a few seconds. Don't walk away. This goes much faster than you think.
  • Meringue: Put all your mixture in a ziploc bag and the snip one of the corners off. This will create a pastry bag that makes it much easier to distribute the meringue evenly across the three circles.
  • Assembly. When it comes time to pull all the layers together, do it on your final serving dish. I did it on a cutting board and then had to move it to the platter. The meringue is more fragile than you think it is... and heavier. I made it work by crossing two knives together and moving super quickly - but this is not ideal of course.


Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Step 2 - To the bowl of a stand-up mixer, with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and vinegar; beat until frothy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly incorporate the sugar; beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 additional minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Next, sift the cocoa powder atop the meringue; fold in the powder using a spatula. When the cocoa powder is thoroughly incorporated, fold in the dark chocolate.

Step 3 - Take a small plate (5-6 inch), flip it over onto the parchment, and use it trace 3 circles. Divide the meringue evenly amongst circles, smoothing them out until they’re about 1-inch thick. Confession: I never draw the circles. I just wing it. Also my parents didn't have any parchment paper and it is not feasible to draw on foil. 

Step 4 - Transfer to the oven to bake for 1 hour until hard and crisp on the outside. Turn the oven off, prop open the oven door, and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.

Faux Frosting
Step 1 - In large metal bowl, whisk together the water, sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Set bowl over pan of barely simmering water and mix with handheld electric mixer at low speed. Gradually increase speed to high, beating until mixture holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.

Step 2 - Transfer bowl from pan to folded kitchen towel on counter and continue beating until mixture is cool and billowy, about 2 minutes more. Beat in vanilla. (Frosting can be made 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered.)

Time to Assemble
Step 1 -  Place one chocolate meringue on a plate. Top with 1/3 of the frosting and smooth it out. Using a torch, toast the frosting until golden brown. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of graham cracker crumbs. 

Step 2 - Repeat with the remaining meringue, frosting and graham crackers. 

Shopping List (adapted from this Cozy Kitchen recipe)
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
1 ounce dark chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons water
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

5 graham crackers
1 pint raspberries

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