There are a million things that I love about the summer, but one of my absolute favourites is the availability of local fresh fruits and vegetables. And eating ice cream everyday, and desserts like this Chocolate Pavlova. It’s a good thing that summer isn’t too long in Toronto because I think if I lived somewhere where it was hot 24/7, I would probably be double my size due to excessive ice cream and dessert consumption.
For the past few years, I have become increasingly interested in local produce. I especially love to see big chains joining myself and many other bloggers in the local food movement. I was beyond thrilled when I found out that each year, from May through October, the grocery chain Metro Ontario launches their Harvest from Home program, an initiative to support growing, purchasing and eating local food in Ontario. Metro is purchasing locally grown foods from more than 100 farms across Ontario, which not only provides us with wonderful produce but supports farmers and provides jobs! It’s crazy to think that typically food travels 1,500 miles to grocery stores, but by eating local, your “food mile” reduces drastically to 45 miles. Insane.
Strawberries are probably my favourite summer ingredient, they are so sweet and fresh in the summer. I knew when coming up with a strawberry inspired dessert that I wanted to keep them in their raw form and a pavlova is the perfect dessert to highlight the strawberries. Chocolate and strawberries is one of my favourite combinations so I knew that a chocolate pavlova was definitely in order.
Luckily for you my lovely readers, I have a nice giveaway! Metro will send one lucky reader who lives in Ontario a gift basket and a $50 Metro/Food Basics gift card. See details after the recipes.
Chocolate Pavlova (serves 4-6)
Recipe by Lou
2 cups sliced strawberries
6 egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup ground almonds
4 oz semi sweet chocolate, melted
For Whipped Cream
2 cups whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
Preheat oven to 275. Arrange racks in the top and bottom third of the oven.
Cut three 8-inch circles out of parchment paper and arrange on two baking sheets.
Next, combine 1/4 cup sugar and cocoa powder in a small bowl, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 1 cup of sugar. Continue to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then gradually beat in the sugar and cocoa mixture, salt and vanilla extract.
Gently fold in the almonds and melted chocolate.
Evenly distribute the mixture onto the parchment paper circles. Turn down the oven to 225 and bake meringues for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, rotating the baking sheets partway through.
Once meringue is done baking, turn down oven and let meringue dry out for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare whipped cream. Using an electric mixer, beat cream until thick, add sugar at the last minute.
To assemble the pavlova, gently remove meringue from parchment paper (don’t worry if it cracks, it will be covered by whipped cream and berries!). Cover meringue with whipped cream and top with berries. Continue with remaining cream and berries until you have three layers. Serve immediately.
Giveaway is closed, the winner is Britt!
And for you, my lovely readers the lovely people at Metro Ontario will send one of you a gift basket and a $50 gift card to be used at Metro or Food Basics.
Giveaway is open to legal residents over the age of eighteen (18) Ontario, Canada.
To enter, leave a comment on this post letting me know your favourite fresh summer fruit or vegetable.
All entries must be received by midnight, EST on Wednesday, August 29th. Winner will be chosen via random.org and notified via valid email address. If they do not reply within 2 days another winner will be chosen.
Disclosure: I was provided with the same items as the giveaway (food basket and $50 gift card) from Metro Ontario. The decision to feature the Harvest from Home program was my own and as always all opinions are 100% mine.