This simple chocolate pavlova recipe with salted caramel sauce is a show-stopper. Crispy meringue shell with a marshmallow inside, swirled with dark chocolate and drizzled with salted caramel sauce.
A simple make-ahead dessert that's perfect for feeding a crowd or the perfect Valentine's Day dessert. For more incredible chocolate desserts, check out my dark chocolate brownies, chocolate ganache tart, and this no-bake chocolate tart.
⭐️ Why this recipe works
- Starting with room temperature egg whites: Whip better, giving you a more stable meringue.
- Adding cornstarch and vinegar: These ingredients prevent weeping (moisture seepage), ensuring marshmallowy insides.
- Melting and cooling chocolate before swirling: Add a chocolatey twist and ensure that you're meringue won't collapse as in the case of adding cocoa powder.
🧾 Ingredients overview
In this section, I've outlined the key ingredients and why they're essential in the recipe. For precise measurements, refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Egg whites (room temperature): The foundation of the meringue. Room-temperature egg whites whip more easily and reach a greater volume, essential for a light, airy pavlova.
- Sugar: Adds sweetness and structure. It stabilizes the egg whites, helping form the glossy, stiff peaks characteristic of a good meringue.
- Cornstarch: Acts as a stabilizer. It absorbs excess moisture, preventing the meringue from weeping and contributing to the marshmallowy interior.
- White vinegar: This acid helps stabilize the egg white foam, making the meringue more elastic and less prone to collapsing. It also contributes to the marshmallowy texture inside.
- Dark chocolate: Provides a rich, intense chocolate flavor that contrasts beautifully with the sweet meringue.
- Whipping cream: Creamy, rich topping that complements the crisp meringue. It adds a luxurious mouthfeel and balances the overall sweetness.
- Caramel sauce ingredients (sugar, butter, additional cream, sea salt):
- Sugar: Caramelized to create the base of the sauce, contributing a deep, complex sweetness.
- Butter: Adds richness and a velvety texture to the caramel sauce.
- Cream: Provides a smooth, creamy consistency, balancing the caramel's sweetness.
- Sea salt: Enhances flavor and offsets the caramel's sweetness.
- Optional: honey roasted peanuts: Add a crunchy texture and a nutty flavor that pairs well with the sweet and salty elements of the dessert.
👩🏻🍳 How to make chocolate pavlova step by step
- Prepare the Meringue:
- Start with room temperature egg whites in a clean, dry bowl. This ensures better volume and stability.
- Begin whipping the egg whites on low speed to create small, stable bubbles. Gradually increase the speed and add sugar slowly, continuing to beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
- Swirl in chocolate:
- Once the meringue is stable, swirl in melted and cooled chocolate.
- Gently fold the chocolate into the meringue using a spatula, creating marbled streaks. Be careful not to overmix, as this can deflate the meringue.
- Bake: Spoon meringue onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Aim for evenly sized dollops to ensure uniform cooking.
- Before placing them in the oven, drizzle a bit more melted chocolate on top for extra richness.
- Bake in the preheated (200ºF) oven for approximately 2 hours. This low and slow baking process is crucial for achieving a crisp exterior and a soft, marshmallow-like interior.
- Check for doneness by gently lifting a pavlova. It should come off the paper easily and feel dry to the touch.
- Cooling meringues: Proper cooling of meringues is essential to maintain their texture and prevent cracking. Here's how to cool them once they are done in the oven:
- Turn off oven & leave meringues inside: After baking, turn off the oven. Keep the meringues inside with the door closed to cool slowly for about an hour. This prevents cracking due to sudden temperature changes.
- Room temperature cooling: Once cooled down in the oven, remove the meringues and allow them to cool completely at room temperature on the baking sheet or a cooling rack.
💡 Chef's Guide: Expert Tips for fool-proof meringue
Drawing from a decade in Michelin-starred kitchens and Cordon Bleu training, here are my top tips for recipe success.
- Chocolate swirls: Add extra chocolate drizzles on top of the meringue before baking for pools of melted chocolate.
- Egg whites separation: Ensure that no yolk gets into your whites. Even a small amount of fat can prevent the whites from reaching the desired volume.
- Adding sugar: Add sugar gradually to the egg whites. Rapid addition can deflate the air bubbles you're trying to create.
- Oven temperature consistency: Avoid opening the oven door frequently while the pavlovas are baking, as fluctuations in temperature can cause them to crack.
- Baking sheet positioning: Place the baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven to ensure even heat distribution.
- Humidity: Try to avoid making meringues on very humid days, as moisture in the air can affect their texture, making them chewy instead of crisp.
- Testing for doneness: A well-baked pavlova should feel firm to the touch and detach easily from the parchment paper.
🍯 Storing leftover meringues
Store chocolate meringues in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature. They are best enjoyed fresh and do not require reheating.
*Once they have been turned into pavlovas with cream and caramel added, leftovers can be refrigerated overnight.
Yes, but it may alter the sweetness and texture slightly.
This could be due to overmixing after adding the chocolate. Gently fold the chocolate in just enough to create swirls.
Reducing sugar will affect the texture and structure of the pavlova. It's not recommended.
The key is the baking time and temperature. A low temperature for a longer time helps achieve a marshmallowy interior.
The meringue base and caramel sauce can be made a day before and stored in an airtight container. However, assemble with cream and toppings close to serving time.
Here are more of my favorite dessert recipes:
If you have tried this chocolate pavlova or any other recipe on my website, please let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating while you're there!
You can also find weekly meal plans and budget recipes over on our sister site Savvy Bites.
Chocolate Pavlova with Salted Caramel Sauce
- 7 oz (about 7 large) egg whites, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 3.5 oz dark chocolate, melted
- ½ cup whipping cream
For the Caramel Sauce:
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Honey-roasted peanuts, for topping
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 212°F (100°C). Line baking trays with parchment paper.
- Make the Meringue: In a stand mixer, combine egg whites and 1 ¾ cups sugar. Whisk on low speed (setting 2) for about 5 minutes until small bubbles form. Increase to high speed and continue whisking. Gradually add cornstarch and vinegar.
- Finish the Meringue: While continuing to whisk, slowly add the remaining ¼ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is firm and stiff.
- Incorporate Chocolate: Drizzle melted chocolate over the meringue. Gently fold the chocolate in. Spoon large dollops of meringue onto the prepared trays. Continue folding in chocolate and scooping until all the mixture is used.
- Bake: Place the trays in the oven and bake for about 2 hours, or until the meringues can be easily lifted off the parchment paper without sticking.
- Prepare the Caramel Sauce: In a medium pan over medium heat, melt 1 cup sugar until it turns into a deep golden brown caramel. Carefully add the butter, being cautious of bubbling. Mix well. Gradually add the cream, again being careful of spitting. Stir in the sea salt.
- Assemble the Pavlovas: Whip the ½ cup of cream until stiff peaks form. Dollop whipped cream onto each meringue. Top with caramel sauce and sprinkle with honey-roasted peanuts.
- Whipping Egg Whites: Ensure the bowl and whisk are completely clean and dry. Any grease can prevent egg whites from whipping properly.
- Baking Temperature: An oven thermometer can be helpful for accuracy, as some ovens may run hotter or cooler than the set temperature.
- Meringue Texture: The meringue should be glossy and hold stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted.
- Melting Chocolate: Use a double boiler or microwave in short bursts, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- Storage: Store pavlovas in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. However, they're best enjoyed fresh.