I know we usually do a Sunday Recipe, but I thought today would be better for this one, as you can beetle out to get the few things you’ll need and make it as the perfect Easter Sunday Dessert. It really is the most amazing thing – and it’s funny, I didn’t make pavlova for years because I thought it was really hard and complicated. Not so! It’s dead easy. And universally popular – everyone always comes back for seconds, there really won’t be any leftovers.
Serves a family of 8 two moderate helpings each.
How long it will take:
20 minutes prep,
10 minutes construction
What You Need:
For the Meringue:
4 medium egg whites
225g (8oz) caster sugar (I’ve used granulated before with no bad effects)
5ml (1tsp) Cornflour
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) White Wine Vinegar (I use any wine vinegar in the cupboard, red or white)
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) vanilla essence
Your choice of soft fruit – we LOVE raspberries and blueberries. But straight strawberries are good, as is a tropical topping with kiwi, banana and mango. The choice is yours: Three punnets of soft fruit is needed.
600ml Double Cream
What you Do:
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC / 140ºC fan / 300ºF / GM 2.
- Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment, and draw round a dinner plate (20cm-ish circle) in the centre of the paper. Turn the paper over so the marking is underneath and won’t transfer to the meringue! (NB – I have used foil in a baking-paper-less crisis, and it worked just fine)
- Place the egg whites in a clean, grease-free bowl and whisk them until stiff and dry.
- Add the sugar, a spoon at a time, whisking until the mixture is smooth, glossy and holds stiff peaks.
- Gently fold in the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla with a large metal spoon.
- Spoon the mixture onto the parchment. With the back of the metal spoon, spread it to just within the circle, making decorative swirls, leaving a shallow dip in the centre.
- Bake for 1hr until the meringue base and sides are crisp. Leave to cool on a cake rack – cracking is totally normal as it cools.
- Whilst it is cooking prep your topping; for the simple version, just whip your cream until it is nice and stiff, and chop any large fruit into bite size pieces.
- Place the pavlova on a large serving plate and scatter with a couple of handfuls of your fruit.
- Spoon the cream into the dip in the centre, spreading thickly and evenly almost to the edge
- Arrange the rest of your fruits on top (I find topping it a fab job for small helpers)
- Nom nom nom.
Alternative Special Topping:
Choice of soft fruit as before
25g (1oz) caster sugar
6 sprigs fresh mint
2 cinnamon sticks, halved
juice from 1 orange
450ml (16fl oz) Double Cream
150ml (5fl oz) Greek Yogurt
- For the Special Topping – Remove all stalks from fruit, halve/quarter any strawberries and place all in a large bowl together.
- Mix in the sugar, 3 minute sprigs, cinnamon sticks and orange juice
- Leave to stand for 2 hrs to infuse.
- Just before eating, whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the yogurt, and the mixture will thicken into stiff peaks.
- Add cream to the pavlova base as usual
- Drain the fruits (reserve the juice in a serving jug), discarding the mint leaves and cinnamon sticks.
- Spoon the fruit mixture over the cream mix
- As you serve, spoon a little juice over the fruit, and sprinkle with the remaining mint leaves.
- Serve with the reserved fruit juice.