I am having my annual xmas dinner party under the frangipani tree… thought a nice Pavlova would work for dessert.
Inspired by two of my favourite chefs and cook book writers; Nigella and Jamie. I used Nigella’s recipe from TV (….yes I do jot down recipes I see on TV) as it is a big one, but followed Jamie’s method which involved a bit more mixing (from his book ‘Cook with Jamie’). I decided to add a twist with a good pinch of saffron at the end to see how this would taste.
- 8 egg whites (free range and fresh, separated very carefully)
- 500gms caster sugar
- 4 tsp corn flour
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 500 ml fresh cream – whipped
- 1 Tbls icing sugar
- 10 granadilla – pulp scooped out or 2 x small tins
- 2 punnets of fresh raspberries (Nigella does a raspberry sauce using frozen raspberries blitzed with sugar and then drizzled over the pav, but this looked like the pavlova had been attacked by a wild animal and a bit messy — so I’m using whole fresh instead). Nigella’s recipe also included slices of lychee’s but I ran out of time before the dinner party to peel and slice up so left this off, but think it could be really nice next time.
I have attempted meringues in the past with some success but it’s definitely something I want to perfect and innovate with. I know all the theory and its very important to follow this: Clean bowl, fresh eggs (I ONLY ever use free range/ organic it makes all the difference), no egg-shell or yolk in the whites, add the sugar very slowly and steadily and basically beat the hell out if it.
how to make:
- preheat oven to 150 degrees c (as per J.O. – N.L recommends 180 preheated and then immediately turn down to 120 degrees when you put the pavlova in….i went with just 150 degrees)
- beat egg whites on medium until they hold a stiff peak
- while mixer still on, very slowly add the caster sugar
- then beat for about 8 – 10 minutes until when you rub the meringue between your fingers you don’t feel any of the sugar crystals
- then turn off the mixture and add all the other ingredients and fold in gently by hand
- dot the 4 corners of the baking paper and stick these down onto the baking tray (such an awesome tip — both Nigella and Jamie offered this — then the paper doest flap around in theoven)
- spread the meringue mixture into a roughly 20cm round and pile up (you could also do a square or rectangle)…I quite like it a bit messy with peaks but you could also keep it flat like Nigella does as she turns hers over so the top side then becomes the underside thereby forming a firmer base
- bake for 1 hour then turn off the oven and leave it there until it has completely cooled or overnight
- when you are about to serve, add all the toppings: first a layer of whipped cream (500 ml) with a Tbls of icing sugar to sweeten, drizzle over about 10 passion fruit / granadilla pulp scooped out (or tinned pulp), and then sprinkle over raspberries (as many as you like)…you could really add anything you like here. Roasted chopped nuts, cherries or any other fruit etc. I also decorated with redcurrents around the base to make it extra christamssy.
It turned out perfectly. Crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside (not chewy) but yet firm and sliceable. The saffron was not really noticed, so next time I will infuse the safforn first in a Tblsp of hot water in order to release the colour and flavour and perhaps make small meringues…..I really like the idea of the bright yellow and think it will add an exotic twist. The rest of the menu had a North african / Morrocan vibe going on — so this would have been perfect had it worked out.
One of my friends phoned me the next day to say he woke up and his first thought was of my pavlova (music to my ears).