Festive Pavlova (and a return to work...)

By A Wee Bit of Cake - January 08, 2017

We made it! This week marked the end of maternity leave and going back to work. I'll be honest, I was dreading it but actually the fear was much worse than the reality. I didn't want to go back, I didn't want to put Ethan in nursery and I didn't want things to change. I loved going to baby groups, catching up with friends and most of all, spending time with my boy but as we all know, all good things must come to an end.

Tuesday was really hard. I got up at 6am, got myself ready and woke Ethan at 6:45am. I gave him a milk feed, got him dressed and Mr T   left at 7:15am to dropp him off at nursery on his way to work. I work in Bradford and I need to be there for 8am so there is no way I would make it in time so we decided to choose a nursery close to Mr T's school then I can do pick up on an evening. I had a little cry in the car when they left and spent the whole day thinking about Ethan while clock watching until 4:30pm when I knew I could leave the office and pick him up.

Thankfully he has settled really well at nursery. There have been no tears and he was just a little clingy on Tuesday wanting lots of one on one attention. He's such a cuddly boy who loves to be held so the nursery staff have said they have happily obliged as the love babies who love cuddles.

Work wise for me I've slipped right back in to things like I had never left. My role has changed slightly with a bit more responsibility but I'll now be working 4 days rather than 5. I only wanted to work 3 but since we bought the house and have a large mortgage for the next 2 years due to a 5% deposit it's a need more than a want to work these 4 days. It could be worse, I could have to work full time therefore I'm lucky work agreed to this and an an early finish.

I still get to see my mum friends on a Friday but weekends are now very busy trying to fit in family time, housework, food shopping and maybe even a spot of baking but I'm sure after a few weeks we will find our groove and get into a good routine.

So... to celebrate week one back at work I thought I would share one of our Christmas Day desserts that I made. There were 14 people to feed and after the success of last year's traditional Pavlova I decided to put a festive twist on my Chocolate Pavlova. The photos aren't great as I quickly snapped them on my phone before we headed to the in-laws but the dessert was delicious! When time is not on your side I strongly recommend you make a Pavlova.

Festive Pavlova
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder sieved
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
50g dark chocolate finely chopped

To Decorate
300ml double cream
200g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate
A variety of berries 
Edible silver balls
Icing sugar to dust
  • Preheat the oven to 160C (fan)
  • Lay a sheet of baking parchment on a baking tray using a little meringue mixture to hold it in place
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff and cloud-like
  • Add the sugar a teaspoon at a time which should result in a glossy meringue
  • Whisk in the cocoa and vinegar
  • Fold in the chocolate gently until well combined
  • Dollop the meringue on the baking parchment in a rectangular shape and using your spoon push the sides up so the filling has somewhere to sit 
  • Place in the oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 140C (fan)
  • Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until firm to the touch 
  • Leave the meringue to cool in the oven which will give you that gorgeous marshmallowy filling
  • Melt the chocolate and cream together in a pan over a low heat
  • Mix until well combined and smooth and glossy
  • Place in the fridge to cool and firm up. You want it to be firm enough to spread without sliding off the meringue
  • Once the meringue is cool dollop on the chocolate ganache and scatter over the fruit and silver balls.
  • Dust with icing sugar to give that festive feel

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