Sugar High Friday 29: Cocoa Nibs Pavlovas

Sunday, March 25, 2007



Well, there is more to these than just "pavlovas"...

I really thought I would have to sit this one out...The theme for this month's Sugar High Friday was "Raw Chocolate" .... where am I going to find raw chocolate in my neck of the woods? There were the obvious choices like homemade chocolate including cocoa butter in the ingredient list, or cocoa nibs that I had successfully located a couple months back. I was feeling less than inspired. I kept looking at my pantry, at the cocoa nibs, at the fridge, and then inspiration came late friday night with these:

Cocoa Nib Pavlovas, Avocado Cream, Honeyed Strawberry and Pineapple, Cocoa Nib and Pistachio Praline....

Yep....just that...Really, I can't be left alone... and before you turn your heads away, let me tell you that sweet avocado rocks! I wanted to keep up with the raw theme throughout this dessert so beside the cocoa nibs everything else is in its original form. I thought at first of filling the meringue disks with a citrus curd or a chocolate cream, but I wanted something soft and light that would let your mouth taste the cocoa nibs as well as the crunch of the praline.

I am not going to lie, I was a bit skeptical about having avocados on the sweet side, but I found tons of recipes out there for avocado dessert so it gave me the confidence to break away from my savory conceptions and get whipping. And you know what...it is amazingly good!

All the components can be made up to one day ahead. These were assembled and served saturday night for a dinner party. I did not tell people about the avocado part, everybody assumed it was pistachio custard until one guest asked me for the recipe and everybody stopped eating, raised their heads, looked at their dessert funny for a minute and digged in again to the sound of :"crunch...crunch...crunch...this is so surprising...this is so good..."

Cocoa Nibs Pavlovas, adapted from Eggbeater, via Simply Recipes:

Makes 12 shells, but I only used 6.

3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 275.
Mix the sugar and corn starch and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the ballon whisk, start whipping the egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar mixture in a slow steady stream, or one tablespoon at a time. Stop the mixer and with a spatula, fold in the cocoa nibs.
Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper, and with a large spoon, mounds 12 meringue rounds. Bake at 275 for 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 250 and bake for another 20 minutes. At this point you can remove them from the oven, or turn the oven off and let them cool in the oven for a few hours. I let mine sit there overnight.

Avocado Cream, adapted from Avocado.org:

Serves 6

3 avocados, pitted, skin removed and cut into cubes
1/4 sugar, or to taste
1 cup heavy cream
juice of 1 lime

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Cocoa Nib and Pistachio Praline:

100 gr. sugar, divided
1/4 cocoa nib
1/4 shelled raw pistachios

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, melt 50 gr. sugar until light golden brown. Add the remaining 50 gr. sugar and stir until the sugar melt and the caramel is dark golden. Remove from the heat, quickly add the nuts and the nibs. Pour it onto the sheet pan and let cool completely. Break into pieces to decorate the meringues.

For the fruit I just cut up some strawberries and pineapple and drizzled them with some honey to taste.

Assemble the Pavlovas:
Do this just before serving.
Set one meringue disk on a plate. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the avocado cream. Spoon some fruit over the cream and add piece of praline to decorate.

This was perfect last night, as it was still over 80 degrees at 8pm, and it finished our dinner al fresco with style, simplicity and a very light feeling both in the stomach and the mouth.



18 comments:

Freya and Paul said...

The nibs are great! I love the idea of the Avocado cream and have wanted to use it in dessert for ages! This is the impetus to get me going! It all looks wonderful!

Alicia said...

Yum! What a shame, I just sent the husband out for groceries and didn't have avocado on the list.
This looks like an ideal dessert for summer, and so colorful! Thanks for another beautiful recipe.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow, I do remember having avocado cream somewhere. Yes, I can see how someone would be fooled and then surprised! Looks like a fabulous dessert!

Anita said...

This is absolutely beautiful! I love your presentation and I love how you used the nibs!

Canadian Baker said...

Looks delish Helene! Now I know that avocados aren't just for guacamole anymore!

Ellie said...

*sobs* Helen, you are not playing fair! When you make something this delicious, it makes me so unhappy with my own cooking because I'd rather be eating yours!

These look absolutely divine, great job as always :)

aria said...

besides being drop dead georgeous, this is so interesting. i still have cocoanibs and dont have a clue what to doi with them....

(love your site!)

Brilynn said...

You make everything I can't! Caramel, meringues, you do it all! I'm so jealous, and also in awe of everything you make.

Peabody said...

I agree that sweet avocado taste great. I love avocado ice cream! I had it at an avocado festival one time!
Those look so colorful and fresh!

jenjen said...

Ohh I love pavlovas, it's such an Aussie thing to have your bbqs and parties, and adding the cocoa nibs is such a great idea. This is wonderful Helen.

Helene said...

Freya and Paul: sometimes it is good to try something that you would not do "just because".

Alicia: that would be great this summer. hope you try it.

Tanna: and it is good for you too :)

Anita: thank you. It as definetely a stretch for me but I am glad I tried it.

Jen: thank you. You're right, avocado are so mild and soft, they are great in desserts.

Ellie: try it, it is worth it!

Aria: I bet that after this round of SHF , you will have plenty of idea!

Brilynn: ohhh...you are so sweet. I love everything you make too.

Peabody: an avocado festival? How cool!

JenJen: thank you. I did not realize how popular they were but after reading their history, that makes sense!

Lis said...

We just bought 4 avocados! I wonder if he'll part with one so I can try the cream? Oddly I'm not squicked! Sweet avocado cream sounds really good! hehehee

I love the cocoa nib praline too.. this dessert just screams summer to me. =)

Excellent way to rise to the challenge of using the raw chocolate!

xoxox

Connie said...

yeah, avocado cream, i am a bit skeptical. but i'll trust you on this one

Aria said...

Wow, I'm excited to try this. So, there is no sugar added to the avocadoes? And, the cream isn't whipped first? Just added to the avocadoes as liquid cream? Thanks!

Helene said...

Connie: it is worth trying but it darkens as fast as guacamole, so do not avoid teh lemon juice

Aria: really, you can sweeten to taste. The cream is added in the food processor. It is not moussy that way, but creamy. Whipping it first would make it more mousse like, which is not a bad thing either!

the pastry princess said...

yummy and goregous color! i, too, fell in love with sweet avocado when i created an avocado pudding recipe for the gilded fork last month. i bet this was delicious!

Niya said...

I am so pleased to read that I am not the only one who thinks of using avocadoes in sweet applications. The cream sounds delicious, I think I will use it with my next avocado chocolate cake.

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