Summer Berries and Pavlovas
The season starts to fade into the warmth of summer and I can feel it changing around me, all the visual clues. Joggers out for a run early in the morning before the heat of the day kicks in, holiday makers wandering along the promenade with ice creams in hand, BBQ’s on the beach and the British berries arriving in the green grocers and supermarkets. One of the many excellent qualities of a pavlova is it’s lightness. In this heat, after an evening meal, I crave something fruity, sweet and light.
I have gone down a truly classic route with the flavours used in this recipe, but sometimes it’s worth mastering the basics so that you can play around with them. Why not try adding a small amount of food colouring to ripple through the meringue, adding a raspberry compote to the cream or simply trying different fruits and edible flowers to make it your own?
Summer Berry Pavlova
4 large free ranged egg whites
200g golden caster sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
400ml double cream
To serve: a mixture of your favourite berries - I chose British strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Edible flowers (available on line)
Preheat oven to 150ºC and line two baking sheets with parchment
In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites on a medium speed until you get firm peaks. Gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, into the egg whites, whilst continually whisking. Once all the sugar has been added, turn the speed of your mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for 10 minutes, or until all the sugar has been dissolved - the way to check is to stop the mixer and rub a little of the meringue between your fingers and if it’s still grainy, keep whisking.
Dollop spoonfuls of the meringue onto your baking sheets and spread into nests about 10cm in diameter.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes and then turn the oven off and leave the meringues to cool. This will help to prevent the meringues from cracking from the sudden change in temperature that removing them from the oven into room temperature can have.
Whip the double cream with the vanilla extract into soft peaks - I do this by hand to help prevent the whipping from going too far, which it can in a heartbeat!
Dollop and spread the cream over one of the meringue nests, scatter with berries and then repeat with another meringue nest stacked on top. Finish with edible flowers (optional)
Have a try this weekend and treat you, your friends and family to a pretty summer dessert. Fingers crossed for more sunshine!