It was my Dads birthday on Tuesday. We gave him gifts and hugs but we were unable to have a proper celebration on the day, so he is coming for dinner tonight to eat party food. He loves pavlova AND cappuccinos so instead of cake, I combined the things he loves into one birthday dessert. I know he's going to love it. He's a coffee fiend. The Force is strong with this one.
slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson's Nigellissima
250g caster sugar
4 teaspoon instant espresso granules (ground to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle)
4 egg whites
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon white vinegar
300ml thickened cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 180C. Draw a 23cm circle onto a sheet of baking paper and line a baking sheet with it. Set aside.
Mix the sugar and coffee powder together. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the coffee-sugar mixture, one tablespoon at a time, and keep whisking for 5 minutes, until you have a stiff, glossy meringue. Sprinkle the cornflour and vinegar over the meringue and gently fold it in with a large metal spoon until completely combined.
Spoon the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, using the drawn circle as a guide, shape the mixture into a flat circle and put it into the oven. Immediately reduce to oven temperature to 150C and bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova to cool in the oven for 3 - 4 hours. The pavlova will be cracked and craggy, which is a good (and beautiful) thing.
Once cooled, invert the pavlova onto a large serving platter and gently remove the paper. The bottom of the pavlova will now be the top. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the pavlova and sift the cocoa powder over the top, cappuccino-like.