Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova a delicious crisp outer shell, with a deep, brownie-like inner, topped with whipped cream and chocolate dipped strawberries. I think this is the perfect dessert to share with those you love. And did I mention that it’s also Gluten Free!
I adore pavlova. Both making and eating it! This chocolate heart pavlova is so pretty and also easy to make. Simply follow the recipe and instructions and you too can bake this beautiful dessert.
Last week we celebrated Valentine’s Day. And I wanted to create something that would be perfect to share with those I love. That said, everything posted on Feasting is Fun, is designed to be shared! Since, hearts, strawberries, chocolates and flowers are all associated with February 14th, I wanted to incorporate as many of these as possible. Resulting in a beautiful and tasty dessert that should not be confined to one day of the year, in my opinion!
For this pavlova the heart is piped, with swirls around the outside, defining the heart shape. It is not difficult to do and creates a different, yet pretty finish, once baked. Also, this heart pavlova contains only cocoa, not chunks of chocolate, making it possible to pipe. Resulting in meringue mixture that resembles a light, airy mousse. Which, once baked keeps its shape perfectly. Yum!
I adore the way that whipped double cream tops the chocolate pavlova, rather like a down duvet covers a bed. Moulding and fitting to the contours. Creating a soft, velvety contrast to the crisp and fudgey pavlova. Chocolate dipped strawberries add the final touch of decadence, crowning this dessert with their contrasting colours.
One mouthful of this delightful dessert and you are lost to the complimenting flavours and contrasting textures. Fortunately, one serving provides plenty of time to fully appreciate this beautiful pavlova. However, I wont tell if you go back for seconds!
Recipe: Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova serves 6-8
4 Large Free Range Egg Whites
200g/7oz Caster Sugar
1tsp Balsamic Vinegar
50g/2oz Cocoa – I use Callebaut
1tsp Corn Flour – I use Doves Farm
300mls/ 1/2 pint Double Cream
400g Fresh Strawberries
100g/4oz Milk Chocolate
50g White Chocolate
Method: Preheat the oven to 200/180C fan, gas mark 6
Making the meringue:
Prior to starting ensure the bowl used to mix the meringue is scrupulously clean. Wipe around the inside of the bowl with half a lemon to ensure no fat is present. The presence of fat, or oil will stop the egg whites from whipping up and incorporating air.
Also line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Draw a large heart on the reverse of the parchment with pencil, approximately 25cm wide by 27.5cm high, 10″w x 11″h.
- First of all, pour the egg whites into the large clean, prepared bowl.
- Whisk until the egg whites hold a stiff peak.
- Continue whisking on high, adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated. The meringue should be white and glossy, holding a stiff peak. Rub a little of the meringue between your finger and thumb, it should feel smooth. If at all gritty, continue whisking, as not all of the sugar is dissolved into the egg white. Continue until the mixture is smooth.
- While the egg whites are whisking fit a large piping ba with a large, open star nozzle, I use Wilton #1M.
- Once the meringue has been whisked sift in the corn flour and cocoa. Then add the balsamic vinegar.
- Using a large, clean, metal spoon fold all of the ingredients together carefully. Taking care not to knock out the air that has been whisked into the egg whites.
- Place four dots of meringue in the corners of the baking tray, then place the baking parchment on top. This will hold the baking parchment in place.
Creating the heart shape and baking the Pavlova:
- Place a large spoonful of chocolate meringue into the centre of the heart. Spread the meringue with a palette knife, so that it fills the heart outline. There is no need to be too precise as it will be piped over.
- Fill the piping bag with the remaining chocolate meringue.
- Pipe swirls around the outline of the heart, leaving the bottom point and the top dip until last. Pipe a swirl at the bottom of the heart and then the top dip. Next pipe stars, inside the heart, on the base.
- Place the pavlova into the centre of the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 160C/140C gas mark 3. Do not open the oven door whilst baking!
- Bake for 1 hour exactly. After the baking time has elapsed turn the oven off and open the oven door a fraction, so that the pavlova cools slowly. I place a wooden spoon between the door and the oven.
Chocolate covered strawberries
- While the pavlova is cooling the strawberries can be prepared. Into separate, small heatproof, microwaveable bowls, break up and add the milk and white chocolate, separately. Heat for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate has melted. Spoon the melted white chocolate into a small piping bag.
- Select 10 of the biggest strawberries and leave their tops on. Dip 5 of the large strawberries into the milk chocolate, using a teaspoons to help fully cover them. Place the dipped strawberries on to some baking parchment. Tip – if the strawberries are kept in the fridge until needed they will be chilled. This will help the chocolate set quickly.
- Next pipe lines across the 5 chocolate covered strawberries and also the 5 un-dipped ones, this gluten free recipe also uses chocolate strawberries. Leave to set on the baking parchment. In warm weather place in the fridge for a couple of minutes.
Filling and decorating
- When the pavlova has completely cooled it can be removed from the oven.
- Pour the cream into a bowl and whisk until it has thickened but is not stiff.
- Gently run a palette knife under the pavlova to loosen it from the baking parchment. Place the pavlova on to a flat plate, or stand from which it is to be served.
- Spoon the cream inside the shell of the pavlova.
- Arrange the chocolate dipped strawberries on the top of the cream, removing the tops if necessary.
- I chopped the remaining strawberries into fairly small pieces and sprinkled them around the whole strawberries.
Finally all that is needed is someone to share this stunning dessert with!
Serve sliced, ensuring each portion has a chocolate strawberry.
This Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova is at its best eaten on the day assembled. Although the pavlova can be made the day before and left to cool, overnight in the oven. The strawberries can be prepared 4 hours ahead and left in a cool place or placed in the fridge. Likewise the cream can be prepared at the same time as the strawberries and left in the fridge, it may need a quick whisk to bring it back to the consistency required.
The Pavlova will last, covered in foil, in the fridge for 2 days after assembly.
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Importantly, all of my pavlova recipes on this blog are gluten free. Making them a suitable dessert for more people. Ensure that the corn flour used in each recipe is certified gluten free.
Since it is in my nature to be as inclusive as possible, serving a naturally gluten free dessert to friends and family ensures that everyone feels special. Likewise, no one can feel that they have been ‘too much bother’ due to any dietary limitations they may have. Resulting in a relaxed, enjoyable meal and atmosphere.
Have fun creating, making, cooking and baking in your kitchens.