Don’t love Christmas pudding as much as I do? Then I’ve so got you covered with this showstopping Ferrero Rocher pavlova. It’s the (second) best way to round off your Christmas day feast. Or why not serve up as part of your New Year’s Eve banquet? Throw some cake sparklers in the top and this dessert has New Year written allllll over it.
This was the first of this year’s Christmas bakes that actually went from an idea on an Excel spreadsheet to a final finished recipe. But I’m sure you can see exactly why I was so excited to get this out of my brain and into the oven. What is not to love? We’ve got crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside chocolate meringue. And not to mention the creamy Nutella filling, sprinkled with roasted hazelnuts, crispy wafer pieces, and actual Ferrero Rochers (of course).
You can totally make your own meringue. It’s not hard as long as you follow three simple rules.
One – You’ve got to be sure the bowl you are going to be using to whip up your egg whites is completely clean. Any grease in the bowl will seriously reduce the whippiness of your whites. Use some lemon juice or vinegar on a cloth to wipe out the bowl before you begin, and then towel dry, to completely rid your bowl of any pesky grease.
Two – Make sure you don’t get any egg yolks in your whites. The best way to avoid this is to seperate each egg into a cup before adding the egg white to the mixing bowl. You don’t want to separate straight into the main mixing bowl, in case your yolk goes along with it – that would mean starting again from scratch.
Three – Follow the timings in the recipe below. You don’t want to over-whisk your egg whites, so it should be ready to go in the oven after the five minutes of whisking detailed in my recipe. If there is an ever-so-slight grainy feeling to the meringue once you’ve hit thata five minute mark, then don’t worry. Only keep beating if there are definite sugar grains in there.
Once the meringue has been whisked up, it’s time to create your chocolatey nest. The best way to make sure you get a decent shape is to draw a circle around a dinner plate onto the baking parchment with a marker pen. Turn the baking parchment over to avoid getting any nasty pen on your meringue, and then use this as a template when spooning on the meringue. You can use a little bit of the meringue mixture to stick the parchment down on to your baking sheet so that it doesn’t slide around when your creating your nest. Thanks Cupcake Jemma for that tip!
The picture above shows the ideal shape for a pavlova nest – higher on the outsides with a nice bowl in the middle to fill with Nutella cream. This is best achieved by spooning meringue around the outsides of the circle, and then spooning the remaining meringue into the middle to create the base of the nest.
The best bit about this dessert? The creamy Nutella filling! This is exactly what it says on the tin – double or heavy cream, mixed with lashings of Nutella. You can use another hazelnut chocolate spread if you like, but Nutella is always my spread of choice. Pile the Nutella cream into the cooled meringue nest, and then sprinkle on all the things that you associate with a Ferrero Rocher:
Smashed up roasted hazelnuts. I popped some roasted hazelnuts in a bag and beat them gently with a rolling pin. You don’t want them too small – it’s nice to have a bit of bite in there with all the cream and the chewy meringue.
Wafer pieces. Katie hates ice cream wafers, apparently. But I still broke one of them up into bitesize pieces and threw them on in there. You can’t have a Ferrero Rocher without the wafer, can you?
Melted chocolate. Dark chocolate works best here, as the meringue is sweet enough without any extra help. Just melt some of your favourite chocolate in the microwave and drizzle haphazardly all over your pavlova. The messier the better!
And if you want to, you can also throw on some actual Ferrero Rocher, all chopped up nicely. Because why not. It’s Christmas after all. Plus, you only need 3 or 4 – you can keep the rest of the box and eat them all by yourself.
Back away Katie! It’s not quite Christmas yet!
- 4 large egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 250g (1¼ cups) caster sugar (US granulated sugar)
- ½ tablespoon cornflour or cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 95g (1/3 cup) Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
- 300ml (1¼ cups) double or heavy cream (split into 60ml/¼ cup and 240ml/1 cup)
- 3 or 4 Ferrero Rocher, chopped (optional, but awesome)
- A handful of roasted hazelnuts, crushed
- One ice cream wafer, broken into small pieces
- 25g (1oz) dark or bittersweet chocolate, melted
- Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F (130°C fan) and line a baking sheet with grease-proof paper or baking parchment. Draw round a dinner plate on the baking parchment with a marker pen, and then flip over so that the marker pen side is facing downwards to avoid getting any pen on your meringue. This circle will help you to make sure your meringue is a good shape.
- Grab a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, and make sure it is free from any grease. I like to rub the bowl with white wine vinegar or lemon juice to make sure it is completely grease-free, as this will help to ensure that your egg whites whisk up well.
- Place the egg whites into the bowl, along with the cream of tartar. Whisk on medium until the mixture has turned frothy, and then turn up the speed to maximum and whisk until the egg whites are white and fairly stiff.
- In a separate bowl, mix the caster sugar, cornflour, and cocoa powder together. Use a hand whisk to get rid of any cocoa lumps. Add the cocoa and sugar mix to the egg whites, one tablespoon at a time, whisking as you go. Continue to whisk the egg whites for about 5 minutes, until there are no sugar grains remaining. You can test this by rubbing a little bit of the mixture between your fingers.
- When the meringue is done, spoon the mixture onto the baking parchment. It is best to put spoonfuls round the outside of the circle first, and then fill in the middle at the end. You are aiming to create a nest shape, with higher sides and a lower middle where the cream will sit. Use a spatula to smooth round the edges so there are no holes and the meringue is smooth.
- Bake the meringue in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Do not open the oven door to check on the meringue whilst it is baking. Once the 1 hour and 45 minutes is up, turn off the oven and leave the meringue in the oven with the door closed for at least an additional 1 hour. You can then remove the meringue from the oven and leave to finish cooling on the tray (if necessary).
- When the meringue nest is completely cool, it is time to make the Nutella cream filling. Place the Nutella in a small bowl, and add 60ml (¼ cup) of the double cream to it. Mix together with a spoon until completely combined - this may seem difficult at first, but it will eventually come together.
- Whip the remaining 240ml (1 cup) of double cream up to stiff peaks in a separate larger bowl. Once whipped, add the Nutella cream to it, and then gently fold together to avoid losing any of the air. It doesn't matter if it is not fully mixed together, as the marble effect will look great too.
- Spoon the Nutella cream into the centre of the meringue nest, and spread out with a spoon to completely fill the nest. Sprinkle the cream with the chopped Ferrero Rocher, crushed hazelnuts, and broken wafer pieces. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave (stirring ever 15 seconds to avoid burning) and then drizzle over the pavlova with a spoon.
- The pavlova is best served on the day or the day after it is made. Keep the pavlova in the fridge before serving. The baked and unfilled meringue nest should stay fresh for up to 2 weeks if kept in an airtight tin (not in the fridge). You can then make the cream and fill on the day of serving.