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This light as air dessert is easy to make
I’ve shied away from Pavlova for years mainly because my only experience with meringue was with those little pre-made nests you buy at the shop. They’re crunchy, practically made of pure sugar, and in my opinion not very nice. Then last Christmas I went to a party and had to try the Pavlova out of courtesy. It was beautiful! Light and crispy on the outside and soft and chewy in. With sweet cream and fresh berries it’s like heaven on a plate and it’s now become one of my standard dessert recipes.
The other reason I’ve not made it before is because I’d heard that it’s difficult to make. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s made with only a handful of ingredients and steps that even a beginner couldn’t have much trouble with. But don’t tell everyone that little secret – one of the best things about making Pavlova is that everyone you serve it to will think you’ve spent all day in the kitchen!
Make this dessert within a day of when you plan to serve it up. I tend to make mine in the morning, allow it to cool in the oven, then decorate it shortly before serving it up. Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food
4 Egg whites
250g White caster sugar
1 tsp White wine vinegar
1 tsp Cornflour
350ml (1-1/2 cups) Double cream
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Unflavored Gelatin powder (optional)
500g (2-1/2 cups) Strawberries, halved
200g (1 cup) Raspberries
Icing sugar to dust (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 150C/300F (130C/270 fan assisted ovens)
2. Spread baking parchment onto a baking sheet and with a pencil draw the circumference of a dinner plate or similar. The size should be slightly smaller than the dish you’re planning on serving the finished Pavlova on and you can use shapes other than circles too. So far I’ve used circles and squares but the Pavlova could easily be made into an oval or star too.
3. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks – this takes about five minutes with my mixing machine. Continue mixing while add the sugar to the egg whites one teaspoon at a time until the peaks look glossy. Then sprinkle the vinegar and cornflour in until mixed in well.
4. Spread the meringue onto your baking parchment, keeping inside your pencil marks and making sure the inside is shallower than the edges. The Meringue will rise a bit but the shape you create at this point is the one you’ll have in the end and you want an inner area where you can contain the toppings. You’re essentially making a meringue bowl.
5. Bake the meringue for an hour then turn the oven off and allow it to cool in the oven. If you take it out too early the meringue will crack and become brittle.
6. Meanwhile, make your whipped cream. This is pretty simple, just whip the double cream with the sugar until it forms stiff peaks. If you’re planning on making the Pavlova in advance and are worried about the whipped cream melting while on the table I have a little tip for you. Dissolve one teaspoon of powdered gelatin in three teaspoons of boiling water. Allow it to cool to room temperature but don’t let it set up. When your cream has formed stiff peaks, slowly drizzle this mixture into the whipped cream until it’s completely mixed in. Making whipped cream this way will ensure it holds form and won’t melt while it’s on display.
7. Spread the whipped cream over the concave area of the meringue then arrange your berries on top. Serve it up in generous slices with extra cream on the side if you like. This is definitely one dessert that will wow and please everyone you serve it up to!
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