Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Honeyed Plum Pavlova

I baked this heavenly pavlova for our New Year's Eve dessert. As it was the first time in many years that all my family could get together for the New Year, the evening was to be a source of much celebration and laughter. This wintry pavlova with honeyed plums and berries was a massive success, with many people going back for third helpings, and by the time the clock struck midnight it was all gone, filling our bellies nicely as we continued to party into the early hours of the morning.


Meringue recipe adapted from the recipe given by Olive Magazine, see it at the BBC Good Food website here. Topping adapted from a recipe by Sophie Dahl for Christmas SugarPlum Syllabubby mess torn out of an old Waitrose Magazine, see similar at the Waitrose website here.

Serves 8 plus extra helpings

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 compote & cream topping:
60ml water
150ml double cream
125g greek yoghurt
3 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
4 tablespoons runny honey
5 plums, washed hulled and chopped
approx 200g blueberries, washed

8. To make the fruit compote, warm the fruit and honey with 60ml water in a small pan over a medium heat, for about 8 minutes or until softened.

9. Strain the mixture using a sieve with a bowl underneath, and make sure you keep the juice from the bowl. Put the fruit to one side to cool.

10. Heat the juice in the saucepan along with the sugar for approx 10 minutes, on a low temperature, until it becomes syrupy. Then take off the heat and leave to cool.

11. Once fruit and syrup are cool, it's time to prepare the creamy topping. In a large bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the fruit syrup into the double cream. Once it has started to thicken, whisk in the greek yoghurt until well combined and the cream is whipped.

12. Spoon creamy mixture over the meringue, and then add the honeyed plums and berries. Finish by drizzling some of the reserved syrup over the top, then serve!

This pavlova was idly baked while listening to Nine Horses album Money For All