Dominique and Me: Black and Blue Pavlova

Lowkey making me perform meringue taxidermy.

I don’t think there is a single person alive who doesn’t like a pavlova, SERIOUSLY what’s not to like? When I think of pavlova, I picture nans everywhere making a shoddy meringue meringue in the oven and topping it with whipped cream and an assortment of red berries (trademark of my nan ;)). Ansel obviously, takes this pavlova to new heights (because – why not? ;)).

If Ansel were to ever actually read this blog (CAN YOU IMAGINE?), he would disagree with that first paragraph with all his heart. Ansel has said the unthinkable – he “hates meringues”. IM SORRY WHAT?? Honestly, if the world ever found out pretty sure he would be a victim of cancel culture because that opinion is a shocker (it isss what is isss). The thing that is kind of nice is that, he struggles making them (that sounded way meaner than I intended, whoops ;)). The (arguably) greatest pastry chef in the world has labelled meringue as his ‘kryptonite’, which is quite the big statement, as well as a best –selling idea for a Superman spin-off (I would not be against seeing Ansel wearing head-to-toe spandex, armed with his trusty piping bag ;)).

The slightly ominous name actually refers to the pain he brought upon himself when developing this meringue, as well as the fruits used (dual interpretation amirite). The pavlova consists of a blueberry meringue shell, blueberry compote, lemon ganache and blackberries. Personally, I wasn’t as daunted by this recipe as much as the others – its just meringue. Right?

The recipe kicks off the day before when making both the fillings. Ansel instructs first to make the lemon ganache, which had a strong lemon posset vibe. I was a big fan of the ganache and was frequently visiting the fridge and peeling back the cling film armed with nothing but a spoon (its amazing how there was even any ganache left ;)). Once the ganache had been made, it was time to move onto the equally simple compote. Ansel requests powdered pectin to be used in the compote, however, I ordered some off of Amazon and it didn’t arrive until a few days after its due date (curse you Jeff Bezos), so I substituted it with a small amount of gelatine. Whether this was a good substitution or not, I don’t know, however it seemed to do the trick. Both the fillings where required to chill overnight.

The next day, I was feeling peppy and ready to tackle the next stage – the meringue. The shells use a French meringue technique, which is easily the most straightforward of the three. The meringue is flavoured with a small amount of blueberry extract, before being piped into large teardrops and baked. However, this is when it gets REALLY WILD. Before they’re finished baking, Ansel instructs to pull them out of the oven and scoop the centre of the meringue out (yknow, the light and mallow bit in the centre which is arguably the BEST PART), and just throw it away (cries).

The meringues kept baking to completely dry them out, and I moved onto whipping the ganache while I was waiting.

Once baked and cooled, it was assembly time. I carefully shaved off the point on half of the meringue shells before filling them with the ganache, compote and an army of blackberries at the circumference of the shells. Once filled, I carefully placed the other shell on top, dusted with icing sugar and the pavlovas were complete!

I love a good pavlova as you know, and this was a GOOD pavlova. It was strange to be honest, because it didn’t have the same sensation as a basic homemade pavlova or one of the polystyrene toffee pavlovas from the freezer section in Aldi. This pavlova had dimension. Although my shells did crack slightly (by slightly I mean they looked like the epicentre of an earthquake), I feel like the recipe came out pretty well.

NEXT UP: Pink Champagne Macarons (I literally used to have sleepless nights at the thought of macarons)

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Kind Regards,

Woody ✨

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