I find it so exciting when I stumble across gluten free recipes that are naturally just gluten free. I’ve mentioned before (and sure I will again…) that my mother has Celiac’s Disease and follows the gluten free diet. But, I’m sure most people know people who either have Celiac’s Disease or another disease that benefits from the gluten free diet. I’m so glad that there’s more awareness now because it makes it easier to find good recipes to cook and bake for my mom.
But, since she’s been diagnosed, I’ve noticed something. The more real you cook, the fewer problems you have with gluten. By real, I mean cooking with whole ingredients instead of highly processed ingredients. However real you cook, though, baking is a whole different ball game. So many desserts we rely on are carb-heavy: cakes, pies, cookies, oh my! So, when I find a delicious looking dessert that doesn’t have any gluten in it, I jump for joy! When we have family parties, I like to have dessert that everyone can enjoy, including my mom. Last month, we planned a Mother’s Day dinner for the Saturday before, and I planned to make a gluten free chocolate cake roll I got from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve made it before, and we’ve all loved it. It’s simple, light, and airy. A few days before, however, I found this recipe for chocolate pavlova on Brown Eyed Baker. I mentioned it in passing to my mom, and she was really excited. “Let’s have that!” she exclaimed.
So we did. It was far easier than the cake roll, and quite delicious! So delicious, in fact, that I made it again for Memorial Day when I had egg whites to use up. Brown Eyed Baker topped it with raspberries, which we did for Mother’s Day, but for Memorial Day, I used a strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries. Both were great, but of the two, I preferred the raspberries, which were just perfect with the chocolate. I made individual pavlovas the second time, and it was much easier to serve. And looked a lot more fun! I’d recommend doing that, especially if you don’t have a serving platter large enough to accommodate the entire meringue (they grow in the oven!).
Chocolate Pavlova with Mascarpone Cream
For the Pavlova
- 6 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
For the mascarpone cream
- 2 cups mascarpone cream
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
- raspberries OR
- strawberries AND/OR
- strawberry sauce (for a simple sauce, simply puree about one cup strawberries with a bit of sugar and lemon juice, adjusting sugar and lemon juice based on how sweet the berries are)
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 9-inch circle in the middle. Flip the parchment paper over (so the mark is toward the pan) and grease the circle, then dust with powdered sugar, tapping off any excess.
2. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat for 10 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved, feeling it between your fingers for any graininess. Add the cream of tartar and beat for one additional minute. Gently fold in the cocoa powder and chopped chocolate. Spoon the mixture onto the circle, using a spatula to smooth the sides and top.
3. Place in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes (or about 1 hour for individual pavlovas), or until dry and firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the pavolva to cool completely in the oven, about 3 to 4 hours.
4. When ready to serve, beat the mascarpone, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until the mixture is thickened and smooth, 1-3 minutes.
5. Transfer the pavlova to a serving plate. Top with the mascarpone and fresh raspberries or strawberries with sauce. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.