This was a blog post I had never planned to write. I feel I need to explain. I went into my local supermarket and they had so much fruit reduced because they all went out of date that day, so there and then I decided that I couldn’t let them go to waste, I just wasn’t sure what to do with them. Then I thought since it’s Christmas maybe I should attempt to make a Pavlova (this is the first one I have ever made!). It had never occurred to me to try and make one but it is something that we have on our Christmas dinner table every single year.
I found the meringue the trickiest part of this bake. I had to make four before I finally got it right. The first one I over whipped, the second there was still a tiny bit of water at the bottom of my bowl, the third for some reason my whisk was only whisking the egg whites at the top of the bowl and not the bottom (strange) and finally fourth made the Pavlova in the pictures. When making a meringue you need to make sure that you only whisk the egg whites in the bowl, no egg yolk. You also need to make sure that the bowl is completely clean and dry and there is no water in it. Also, don’t use a plastic bowl as it can harbour oils which will just ruin your egg whites.
When I finally got my meringue perfect I placed a bowl upside down in the centre of my baking sheet. Using a spoon I dolloped the meringue, gently of course, around the egg of the bowl. I removed the bowl and spread the rest of the meringue in the centre making sure there are no gaps.
The key with meringue is that it takes a lot of patience and I mean A LOT! From waiting on your egg whites to adding the caster sugar and to baking. I baked this pavlova in the oven for 1 hour at a low heat. I then turned the oven off and left the pavlova in overnight so it cooled at the same time as the oven. The sudden change in temperature could cause your pavlova to crack. Don’t worry if your pavlova does crack you can patch it back together with the double cream or hide it with the fruit and a slight crack isn’t going to affect how ammmazing it will taste when it is finished.
For the double cream, I whisked it by hand, and let me just say you 100% should do it with a mixer. I was worried I would over whip it if I used a mixer since I had overwhipped my egg whites but trust me there is no chance of you overwhipping it when you do it by hand, your arm would fall off first! I added a few tablespoons of icing sugar (in America I think this is called powdered sugar or confectioners sugar) to the double cream to make it taste slightly sweeter. I included that in the recipe but you don’t have to add it the double cream will whip up exactly the same with or without it.
The fruit I used, was fruit I found in the reduction section of my local supermarket but you can use any of your favourite fruits, it doesn’t necessarily have to be berries. You can also add things like lemon curd if you would like it, or have it only strawberries, the beauty with this pavlova is you can add any fruits that you and your family like.
This will serve 12-15
For the Meringue
5 Large Egg Whites
250g Caster Sugar
400ml Double Cream
2tbsp Icing Sugar
A Selection of Berries. I used Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries and Blueberries.
For the Meringue
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC (130ºF/Gas Mark 2). Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and leave to the side.
- Separate your egg white and egg yolks. It is the egg whites that you need.
- Once separated whisk the egg whites on a medium speed until they are doubled in size and stiff. (If you hold the bowl upside down they shouldn’t fall out the bowl.
- Add in the caster sugar a spoonful at a time. Make sure that the sugar is fully incorporated before adding another spoonful. The egg whites should still hold there shape but be white and glossy.
- Gently spoon the mixture onto your baking sheet in a circle. Building the sides up so they are higher than the middle.
- Bake in the oven for 1 hour until a pale beige colour. When they are ready turn the oven off and leave the meringue in too cool for four hours or overnight.
- Whip the double cream until it forms stiff peaks. Pipe or spoon the mixture onto the pavlova leaving 1cm around the edge free.
- Finally, decorate with your fruit.
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