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Brown Sugar Pavlova with Chambord Cherries

This showstopping dessert will silence the chaotic Christmas crowds in an instant.

Brown Sugar Pavlova with Chambord Cherries

Serves 8

100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
6 egg whites
¾ cup caster sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
1½ cups thickened cream
¼ cup cherry jam fresh cherries and icing sugar, to serve

Chambord Cherries

1 cup caster sugar
200g fresh cherries, pitted
¼ cup Chambord liqueur

To make Chambord cherries, place sugar, ¼ cup of water and cherries in a saucepan over low heat; stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add Chambord, cover; set aside.

To make chocolate shards, melt chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Pour chocolate over a 30cm x 40cm piece of non-stick baking paper. Using a palette knife, spread chocolate over paper. Leave a 2cm border. Top with another 30cm x 40cm piece of non-stick baking paper. Use a large palette knife or ruler to smooth out chocolate so it is an even thickness. Starting from the short end, roll the sheet into a 3cm-thick roll. Place seam side down on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

Remove from fridge and unroll quickly to create the shards. Refrigerate shards.

Preheat oven to 150°C. Draw a 24cm circle on a sheet of baking paper. Turn sheet over, place on a baking tray.

Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugars, beating well until mixture is glossy. Sift cornflour over, add vinegar and fold through.

Spoon mixture onto baking paper into the centre of the circle; shape into a mound. Place in oven, reduce heat to 120°C. Cook for 1 hour or until the shell is crisp. Turn oven off and allow meringue to cool completely in the oven.

Meanwhile, drain marinated cherries; reserve cherries. Place liquid in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil; cook for 3-5 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Set aside to cool.

Whisk cream until soft peaks form; fold jam through. Spoon cream onto the pavlova, top with Chambord cherries and fresh cherries. Drizzle over syrup, top with chocolate shards and dust with icing sugar.

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