Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mother's Day Pavlova with Strawberries & Passion Fruit Whipped Cream

This sumptuous pavlova was a real pleasure to bake, and I owe it all to my food mixer's high speed whisk! For me a pavlova evokes sunshine and birdsong, both of which we enjoyed as we sat with my parents this afternoon, glass of cava in hand, to celebrate Mother's Day. The strawberries and passion fruit suit eachother perfectly, the soft sharpness of the passion fruit pulp cutting through the heady sweetness of this heavenly berry meringue.

Adapted from the recipe given by Olive Magazine, see it at the BBC Good Food website here.

Serves 6

4 large egg whites
225g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1. Turn oven to 180C (160 fan ovens), and grease and line a large baking sheet or tray. If you like a neat meringue then you can trace around a 20cm cake tin base, in pencil on the back of the parchment paper, before placing the paper pencil side down on the greased baking sheet.

2. In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Bear in mind the bowl needs to be totally clean - any little piece of dirt or dust could stop the whites stiffening.

3. Next add the sugar, a tablespoon at time, and once all used up beat again for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is glossy and stands up in stiff peaks.

4. Whisk in the cornflour, vanilla essence and vinegar.

5. Spoon the meringue mixture onto the prepared baking tray, spreading it out to be a circle of about 20cm diameter, making a hollow in the centre of the mixture to form a nest.

6. As soon as the meringue goes into the oven, turn the oven right down to 120C (fan 100C). Bake in the oven for an hour and a half, then turn off the oven. Leave the meringue to cool in the oven, and only remove when totally cool. I baked mine in the evening and left it to cool overnight in the oven ready to eat the next day.

7. Once cool, gently peel off the parchment paper and place on a plate or dish. It doesn't matter if the meringue cracks a bit.

for the topping:
285ml double cream (I had to use a little less thanks to the packet of cream opening out onto the floor when I got home - Nico kitten got her first taste of cream)
400g strawberries, washed hulled and halved
3 passionfruit, pulp only

8. Whip the cream with two of the passionfruit pulps, then spoon the cream into the hole of the meringue nest, spreading out to cover the middle of the meringue.

9. Spoon the strawberries over the passionfruit cream, and drizzle the pulp of the third passionfruit over the top. Serve the pavlova immediately!

This pavlova was idly baked to the sounds of Dean Martin's album That's Amore

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