Valentine Volcano

Here we have a chocolate meringue with fresh whipped cream and crushed strawberries – a mini pavlova. 


As I was preparing the meringues, my husband was kind enough to tell me they look like pertrified dog poop. So I guess this snack doesn’t score a 10 for presentation, but the kids didn’t seem bothered in the least.


This recipe is substantially lower in sugar than any other pavlova recipe I’ve seen.  It’s a relatively light snack all around, except for the whipped cream. But you can’t not have the whipped cream.

 For the meringue:

3 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 ounce dark chocolate, chopped very fine

For the whipped cream:

1/2 cup heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons sugar

For the strawberries:

6 frozen strawberries (about 1/3 cup), thawed
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a standing electric mixer, whip the egg whites, sugar, cocoa powder, and vinegar on medium-high speed until semi-stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the chocolate pieces with a rubber spatula. Spoon the meringue mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet about a 1/3 cup at a time. Create a heart shape, if desired.

Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until outer shell has formed and the meringues are not terribly difficult to remove from the parchment. Allow to cool on the pan.

Meanwhile, make your whipped cream by pouring the heavy cream and sugar into a bowl and beating it with an electric mixer until peaks form. If it’s an especially hot day, put the bowl in the freezer for a while before you begin. Store the whipped cream an airtight container in the refrigerator until the meringues are ready.

Meanwhile, drain any excess liquid off the strawberries. Crush the berries and sugar in a small bowl with a fork until they are broken down. Cover and keep at room temperature until the meringues are ready.

To assemble simply place a dollop of whipped cream on top of each meringue and top with 1-2 teaspoons of crushed strawberries. Serve immediately.

Yield: 10 mini heart-shaped pavlovas
Prep-time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 1 1/2 hours