Red, White, and Blue

I should have made it a point to do something really patriotic for July 4th like so many of you food bloggers did, but the truth of the matter is I just didn't. I opted instead to visit with friends and let them be in charge of cooking for a day. Even a chef-by-default person like me enjoys having someone else cook for them occasionally! In looking through my photo archives for something to blog about today I realized I could quite possibly redeem myself by posting about this dessert that I actually made a few weeks ago while I was home visiting my family.

I've been on this quest lately to find the perfect dessert. A dessert that not only looks impressive enough to serve to friends at a dinner party, but tastes equally as impressive. In my mind, I thought a dessert of this caliber needed to have alot of ingredients and be time consuming to prepare. In the end, I found that wasn't the case at all but we all know the old saying that hindsight is 20/20.

I downloaded a few recipes from the internet that I thought would fit the bill for my perfect dessert and I set about buying all of the (expensive) ingredients to prepare them and worked my way through the list. I guess about now you're wondering if maybe you missed my posts about these fabulous, wonderful desserts and you're scurrying around trying to find them on my blog (now aren't you?!). Don't bother looking because none of my perfect desserts made the final cut. Most of them were not even close to being considered for an extreme makeover. I am of the opinion that there are too many other recipes out there waiting to be tested to worry about tinkering with one that you didn't even really like in the first place so I shelved my quest for the perfect dessert for another day.

Taking inventory after my failed attempts, I realized I had a little bit of this and alot of that that needed to be used up. I wound up making a recipe by Nigella Lawson for Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova. It made perfect use of the egg whites and fresh raspberries that were languishing in my fridge not to mention the scraps of chocolate that were not enough to do anything else with. And guess what I found in the process??? guessed it. THE PERFECT DESSERT! It wasn't a complicated recipe. It didn't even require alot of ingredients. It looked impressive. It tasted great. It was perfect on so many levels! And I found it quite by accident.

The first time I prepared this recipe, I followed Nigella's instructions about using fresh raspberries but when I made it yet again for my parents, strawberries and blueberries looked the freshest so I used those and so it become the perfect dessert for July 4th. I ask you, can it get any more PERFECT??

If you haven't had the chance to become acquainted with Nigella, please make it a point to do so very soon. She's quite wonderful and inspiring in my opinion. Enjoy!!

* Exported from MasterCook *

Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova

Serving Size : 8
Categories : Dessert-Misc.

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
for the chocolate meringue base:
6 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons best quality, unsweetened cocoa powder, sieved
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar, or raspberry vinegar
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
for the topping:
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups raspberries
2 tablespoons coarsely grated bittersweet chocolate -- (2 to 3)

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking tray 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 on to 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 and cook for about 45 mins. 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 centre you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue disc cool completely.

When you're ready to serve, transfer to a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whip the cream with sugar and vanilla 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 colour and form to be obscured, and sprinkle haphazardly over the top, letting some fall, as it will, on the plate's rim.

"Inspired by Nigella Lawson"
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P.S. photo by dear ole' Dad again :)


Kristen said...

Looks delicious! Nothing wrong with laying back and relaxing every once in awhile!

Valli said...

Two of my favourite flavour combinations are chocolate and raspberries...or chocolate and strawberries..or chocolate get the picture. The pavlova looks like you have slaved in the kitchen for hours. A very impressive dessert for company.


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