Cheat on the Christmas cake with this seductive pavlova.Donal Skeehan

This very simple boozy pavlova cake is full of cheer and can be made earlier and assembled at the last minute. You can play around with the fillings, use winter berries or drizzle with dulche de leche … it's the perfect show-stopping dessert. What I love most about this slightly alternative dessert is that it can all be made ahead and simply assembled last minute for show stopping results.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

250g icing sugar

4 egg whites

2 teaspoons of cornflour

1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar

3 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp espresso powder

750ml of cream, whipped

3 tbsp brandy

100g dark chocolate, shavings

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 150˚C/Gas Mark 2.

Line two baking trays with baking parchment. Draw a large circle 25cm/10inch on each piece of parchment paper.

Place the icing sugar and egg whites in a standing food mixer and whisk on high for 10 minutes until glossy white peaks form.

Using a spatula, gently fold in the cocoa powder, espresso powder, cornflour and the white wine vinegar.

Divide the meringue mixture between the two baking trays and using a tablespoon, form two large meringue discs.

Bake for 45 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Whip the cream until quite firm, make sure to not over-whipping it, then fold through the brandy.

Assemble the pavlova by placing a layer on a cake stand and topping with half the cream. Add the next layer of meringue and then top with the remaining cream.

Sprinkle over the chocolate shavings and serve straight away.

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