This may seem a nightmare too attempt to a novice, but believe me if you follow the few simple rules I am about to give you, you will end up with the perfect Pavlova. Also with this dessert do not worry too much about the
neatness, make it look nice and jumbled: dripping with juice and fruit, piled up as high as you can. If you drop it on the way to the garden quickly pick it up, scrape off the dog/cat/ husband/ wife hairs, then shout out to the waiting guests: “change of plan, I have knocked up a nice Eaton Mess instead!” 😉
THE RULES !!
Alway use a metal mixing bowl that has been washed with hot soapy water and detergent. This is so all traces of grease are removed. If any fat or grease gets in your egg white mix you can forget it: this causes the white to collapse and you can whisk with all the strength and willpower of an olympic rower, but you will never get any volume out of it.
The above rule applies to the whisk as well.
YOU WILL NEED !
A metal mixing bowl or mixer with whisk, a large metal serving spoon.
A baking tray lined with baking parchment ( not greaseproof, this will end in tears).
A nice serving plate or tray to present your masterpiece on.
A pre-heated oven: 140c fan assisted, 150 conventional.
Your guests all laced with lashings of pimms in the garden.
INGREDIENTS FOR MERINGUE :
6 medium egg whites
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of cornflour
350g of caster sugar
INGREDIENTS FOR FILLING:
500 ml of double cream
50g caster sugar
teaspoon vanilla essence
4 passion fruits
250g quartered fresh strawberries
METHOD FOR MERINGUE
Check your bowl and whisk are clean and grease free, and make sure your whites have NO trace of egg yolk in what so ever ( this will stop the whites gaining any volume).
Leave your egg whites to stand for at least an hour in the kitchen before hand to come up to room temperature, you will get more air in than with egg straight from the fridge.
Whisk the whites until they’ve doubled in volume and soft peaks are formed: you can test this by stopping the machine and taking a spoonful out and holding it up. If you get a slight droopiness, it’s only half ready.
Carry on whisking and add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. When all the sugar has been added, sprinkle in the corn flour and vinegar and whisk again for a minute until all ingredients are fully incorporated. You should now be left with a nice thick, shiny, stiff meringue.
Get your tray lined with parchment and, using a large serving spoon, scoop out a domed spoonful of mix and let it drop onto the tray in a nice pile. Do not worry about a uniformed shape too much, its the rustic misshapen look that gives this dessert its appeal, and ease.
Make sure there is at least a 2 inch gap between each meringue , as they will rise in the oven slightly.
Place tray in your pre-heated oven , preferably in the centre shelf; leave for at least an hour and 15 minutes.
Don’t worry if your meringues look cracked or slightly coloured, this is normal, and the caramelsing of the sugar gives the Pavlova its distinctive toffee flavour.
Take out of oven and leave to cool.
Whisk the cream with the sugar and vanilla essence until nice and thick, then place to one side.
Slice your Passion fruit in half and have your quartered strawberries at the ready !
Place three of the meringues on your serving dish, then spoon over half the cream, sprinkle with some Strawberries, then squeeze over the juice of two Passion fruits.
Place two meringues on top then spoon over more cream, sprinkle more Strawberries and squeeze over more Passion fruit. Place one more meringue on top. Finish off with another dollop of cream and passion fruit .
You can garnish with fresh mint if you want to, though this is optional.
Serve with a chilled glass of chardonnay and a playlist of show tunes.
You can use any fruit for this dessert: raspberries and bananas make a nice combination, with some pureed raspberry juice drizzled over. Use you imagination and experiment with flavours.
Double up the recipe to make an impressive tower for a larger number of guests .
Did you know you can freeze meringues ? People say you must never put meringues in the fridge, this is true, but you can freeze them as there is no moisture in a freezer to dissolve the sugar, and the sugar itself stops the meringue freezing solid. So you can use them straight from the freezer !
© The cake-shaker 2010