Monday, June 04, 2007

Summer Berry Pavlova

There is nothing wrong with the odd culinary throwback to the eighties. Can't say I'm a fan of cheese and pineapple on sticks, but I do love a Pavlova. The contrast of the crisp meringue shell and its marshmallowey interior, the cream streaked with berry juice - delicious. It is spectacularly easy to make yet always impresses when placed ceremoniously on the table.

Ok, so the picture isn't good. The light was bad. I was on holiday, give me a break! I hope you will be impressed though that the holiday cottage was without electric whisk - this meringue was whisked by HAND, dear readers (with a little help from a friend)...


4 egg whites
8oz caster sugar
1 tsp raspberry vinegar
1 tsp cornflour

Raspberries or other fresh summer berries
Medium pot of double cream.

For syrup (optional)
1 packet frozen summer berries
100g sugar

1. Pre-heat oven to 140C. Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form.

2. Add sugar a little at a time whilst continuing to whisk. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes glossy.

3. Stir in vinegar and cornflour (see notes).

4. Spoon mixture onto sheet of greaseproof paper lying on a large baking sheet for support. Ideally in a circle. Make the sides slightly higher than the middle by spooning large blobs of mixture round the edge then filling in the middle.

5. Bake at low heat for 1 - 1 1/2 hours until shell is crisp but not brown.

6. Once cool, whip the cream and dollop over the meringue base. Sprinkle with fruit of your choice.

7. If wished, make a fruit syrup. Push bag of frozen berries through a sieve into a pan. Add 150ml water to the juice and then the sugar. Heat gently until sugar is dissolved and then turn up heat and simmer until liquid is reduced in volume by two thirds. You will be left with a delicious syrup to drizzle over the top of your pavlova.

Notes -

If you can't find raspberry vinegar, any white wine vinegar will do. Just don't leave it out or the pav won't have that marshmallowey centre. The cornflour is also vital!

The fruit syrup is delicious on ice cream or yoghurt too.

Try other fruits. Oranges are good in winter. Squeeze the juice from two large oranges to make an orange syrup.

This is an easy recipe to remember by heart - for each egg, use 2oz sugar.

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