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Jessie Spiby has been a close friend and collaborator of Alpha Box & Dice for many years. Sure, she was on Masterchef a few years ago, but she has since made a name for herself as a champion of sustainability, seasonal produce and local suppliers. She runs My Grandma Ben, an Asian-inspired eatery and bar based in Adelaide.

With humble gratitude and a waste-nothing attitude, she takes the ingenuity from a past generation of women who could seemingly whip up a sustaining meal from nowhere. Her decadent Cherry and Chocolate Pavlova is a dessert to be shared.


100g 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
4 egg whites
1 cup (220g) fine caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar or white balsamic
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 tbs salt flakes
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
6 whole cloves
2 cups of fresh cherries, halved and pitted

250g mascarpone
1 cup cherries, halved, pitted
1-2 cups of blackberries,
blueberries, strawberries or raspberries

Time Saving Tip: You can pickle cherries up to a week in advance and make the pavlova base the day before.


Combine all ingredients except the cherries in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Remove from heat and stand for about 5 minutes, you don’t want the mixture to be too hot as it’ll cook the cherries and they’ll become soft.

Once the pickling liquid has cooled, pour over the cherries and cool in the fridge. They’ll be ready in 2 hours (but are best after 2 days). Keep pickled cherries refrigerated until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 120°C and line a tray with baking paper. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a small pan of simmering water, be sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir chocolate until just melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly while you prepare the meringue.

Beat egg whites in a bowl with an electric mixer or stand mix until soft peaks form, usually around 2 mins. Gradually add caster sugar a tablespoon at a time, beating until fully dissolved after each spoonful. Beat until mixture is thick and glossy and all sugar is added and dissolved.

Gently fold the cornflour and vinegar into the meringue, then swirl in the melted chocolate. Spoon the meringue onto the lined tray don’t smooth out the meringue too much or you will lose the beautiful chocolate swirls.

Form the small meringues into 4cm circles or one large meringue into a 20cm circle. Bake small meringues for 1 hour and large meringue for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until dry to the touch.

Turn the oven off and leave the meringue to cool completely in the oven with the door ajar. To serve, place pavlova on your serving plate. Top with the mascarpone cream, decorate with the berries and pickled cherries and drizzle with a little of the pickling liquid.