This is a luscious Valentine’s dessert. A chocolate pavlova, at the same time crisp and gooey, topped with whipped cream, fruit and chocolate. It’s based on a recipe of Nigella Lawson’s and makes a rather large indulgent dessert for two, which I’m sure she’d approve of.
Start by pre-heating your oven to 175 degrees C / 350 F. To make the meringue separate two free-range eggs and put the whites in a large clean mixing bowl. Beat them until they are glossy and form peaks. Then beat in 100g of caster sugar 1 tbsp at a time until the sugar is all incorporated into the egg whites. Next sprinkle over 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 1/3 tsp balsamic vinegar and fold these in. Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment. Spoon the meringue mixture onto the centre of the baking sheet in a rough heart shape and then with a spoon form into a heart shape and make an indent in the centre with the edges higher than the middle so you can put in your fillings when it’s cooked. Put it on a low shelf in your oven and turn the oven down to 150 degrees C / 175 F and cook for an hour. Then turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven while it cools.
When your meringue is completely cool and you are ready to assemble it beat about 150ml of whipping cream until it’s nice and fluffy. Spoon this into the centre of your meringue heart and spread it out. Then add fruit of your lover’s choice. Nigella uses raspberries, but I used mango, lightly cooked strawberries (as my Valentine prefers them) some sliced banana and a little passion fruit plump. Finally,I sprinkled over some grated plain chocolate. As they say “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!”