A couple of weeks ago Husband and I had a brilliant lunch where Katrina, our hostess, made us Salmon and Couscous, a recipe by Jamie Oliver which was super delish. She had asked me to bring a pud and I had racked my brains for something that looks good, tastes divine and would impress our hosts. Had to be a pavlova. It’s not a classic dessert for nothing. Soft centred marshmallow-ey meringue, sweet fragrant berries and lashings of melt-in-the-mouth whipped cream. Decision made.
Anyhow I looked, as I often do when I need help deciding what to cook, on CountryWives What’s Cooking and was amazed to find we have never put up a recipe for pavlova. So, after 7 years of producing CW, here it is. If you are worried about your meringue making skills, worry no more. This recipe absolutely works every time.
TIP: Almost any fruit can be used to top your pavlova. One of my fave alternatives which I made for the CW Summer Lunch is to spread some creme con leche on the meringue base, top with lots of finely sliced banana, then lashings of whipped cream and scatter with toasted almond slivers and a few Malteasers.
TIP: Marvellous Mother In Law suggests adding a few drops of ginger cordial to your cream.
Ingredients serves 6 – 8
4 large egg whites
225g (8oz) caster sugar
2 level tsp cornflour
2 tsp white wine vinegar
For the filling:
300ml whipping or double cream, whipped
350g fresh berries of your choice
How to prepare
Preheat the oven to 160°C/Fan 140°C/gas 3. Lay a sheet of non-stick baking parchment on a baking sheet and mark a 23cm (9in) circle on it.
Put the egg whites into a large bowl and whisk until stiff and cloud-like. Add the sugar a teaspoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition, until all the sugar has been added. Blend the cornflour and vinegar together and whisk into the meringue mixture. Spread the meringue out to cover the circle on the non-stick baking parchment, building up the sides so they are higher than the middle.
Place in the oven but immediately reduce the temperature to 150°C/300°F/gas 2. Bake for about 1 hour until firm to the touch and a pale beige colour. Turn the oven off and allow the Pavlova to become quite cold while still in the oven. If you keep the oven door closed you will encourage a more marshmallowy meringue.
Remove the cold Pavlova from the baking sheet and parchment and slide onto a serving plate. Top with the whipped cream and strawberries, then chill in the fridge for 1 hour before serving.