Gluten Free Black Forest Pavlova Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on May 11, 2013

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With Mother’s Day tomorrow, it got me thinking about my own mother and how she shaped my life and inspired me.

From my mother I learned that the details matter; the details are what take something from good to great. Taking time for the details shows you care.

My mother grew up in the rarefied world of British Colonial India with a house full of servants to wait on her hand and foot. And yet when she married an American Air Force Pilot she embraced the entirely new world of cleaning house and cooking dinner with what I can only call professionalism. Our house was clean and orderly, our closets ruthlessly organized, and we sat down for dinner every night to a multicourse meal at a fully set table complete with individual salt and pepper cellars and silver napkin rings. She may not have been born to be a housewife but she turned herself into one and a good one at that.

It was from Mom I inherited a sense of wanderlust, adventure, and a willingness to try almost anything – especially when it came to food. We traveled a lot when I was growing up and while my mom appreciated the fancy white linen restaurants,  she also fully appreciated the local dives. Mom had a talent for finding where the locals ate and we often found ourselves the only English speaking people in a tiny place that served exquisite food.

At home Mom had no problem mixing the foods of different cultures – she was fusion before fusion was a thing. We would have dishes that were part Asian, part Indian, and part American or British. Since Mom was a self-taught cook she didn’t know she was breaking rules.

My Mom is no longer with us; she was here for too short of a time but in that time she left an indelible mark – at least on me. And that mark continues on through me to my children, the grandchildren she never had a chance to meet but who know her well.

This fusion dessert is part Australian (or New Zealand – I am not getting in the middle of that controversy!) with the Pavlova and part German from the Black Forest flavor profiles. I made a chocolate meringue base, filled it with whipped cream and a simple sauce made from natural Bordeaux Maraschino Cherries and their juice, and topped the whole thing with some grated dark chocolate. The dessert is divine, decadent, and the perfect tribute from a grateful daughter to her mother.

How did your Mom inspire you?

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms out there!

Gluten Free Black Forest Pavlova Recipe

Gluten Free Black Forest Pavlova Recipe


3 large egg whites
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca or corn starch
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided use
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (13.5 ounce) jar natural Bordeaux maraschino cherries
2 tablespoons cherry liqueur such as Kirschwasser (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
1 ounce dark chocolate, grated


Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until they form stiff, glossy peaks. Turn off the mixer; add the tapioca (or corn) starch, vinegar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla then beat in to the egg whites, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Sift the cocoa powder into the egg whites and fold in with a rubber spatula until the mixture is no longer streaky. Dump the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and using the back of a large spoon, push the mixture into a circle about 8 inches in diameter with a well in the center. Bake for 1 hour or until the outside is crispy, turn off the heat and let sit in the oven for another hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

While the meringue is cooling, drain the cherries, reserving the juice. Put the juice into a small saucepan with the cherry liqueur, if using, and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the mixture is reduced by half. Let cool. Remove the stems from most of the cherries (leave a couple stems on for a nice presentation.)

Whip the cream with the remaining teaspoon of vanilla.

Place the meringue on a serving plate; fill the well in the center with the whipped cream, drizzle on the sauce, top with the cherries and sprinkle the top with grated chocolate. Serve immediately. The components can be made ahead and assembled just before serving.


A gluten free recipe that serves 8

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Categories:    Dessert

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

James May 11, 2013 at 9:21 am

“My Mom is no longer with us; she was here for too short of a time but in that time she left an indelible mark; at least on me.”

Beautifully said.

When they pass we should remember the good times we shared with them and not permanently mourn their passing.

This is a lovely take on the BFG, which has to be one of my favourites, dark and sumptuous. Never tried it with meringue, so am excited to give this a try.


Carol Kicinski May 14, 2013 at 7:19 am

Thank you so much James. I could not agree with you more. And let me know what you think of the recipe.


carole May 14, 2013 at 1:53 am

Did I miss something ??? Where’s the cream ??


Carol Kicinski May 14, 2013 at 7:09 am

No, you didn’t miss anything – I left it out of the ingredient list by mistake, sorry! I have fixed the recipe now, it is 1 cup heavy cream. Thank you for pointing this out to me!!!


greenMinimalism May 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm

One cup of heavy cream! This is a true delicacy. Thanks for sharing, I’m going to try and work out a vegan version for my green friends!


Carol Kicinski May 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Not sure how to make the meringue part vegan. The rest I could figure just not how to sub the egg whites. Let me know if you work it out!


Anna May 19, 2013 at 12:14 pm

This looks so yummy .. and pretty .. almost too good to be healthy! :) Loving it!


Carol Kicinski May 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Thanks Anna, it really is delicious!


Michael May 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm

A delicious treat! My mom LOVED this! Thank you so much for the recipe, and I hope all the mother’s out there were able to enjoy this as well on Mother’s Day!


Carol Kicinski May 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Thanks Michael, so happy your Mom enjoyed it!


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