Summer puddings don’t get much better than pavlova. Crunchy on the outside with a chewy marshmallowy centre and piled high with ripe seasonal fruit & cream, it’s a classic warm-weather dessert.
Light, voluminous and drizzled in tart raspberry sauce, it’s the perfect edible centrepiece for any garden party.
Although it’s typically served with fruit and soft whipped cream, the cloud-like dessert is super easy to tailor to your taste buds, so if you fancy rhubarb and custard or lemon curd, there’s plenty of opportunity to go off piste with the fillings and toppings.
The key ingredient for a show-stopping pav is patience. Handle your egg whites right and leave your meringue to cool down slowly and you’ll be laughing.
Preheat your oven to 140C fan.
In a large bowl, beat 4 egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. You want to get as much air into the egg whites as possible. When separating your eggs, ensure no yolk gets in the bowl. The yolk contains fat, which will prevent the white from thickening.
With your mixer still running, add the caster sugar gradually a tablespoon at a time. Turn your mixer onto a high speed and whisk until the meringue looks thick and glossy. Gently fold in the cornflour and vanilla extract and gently whip on low speed just until incorporated.
Using a circular baking tray / dinner plate, mark out a 20cm circle on a sheet of baking parchment. Dab a small amount of the meringue in the 4 corners of a large baking tray, this will secure the baking parchment to the tray.
Place the baking parchment drawn side down and spoon the meringue mixture into the circle, spreading it evenly with a serving spoon or rubber spatula. You’ll need to squash it down a little bit, pushing it out to the edges to create a meringue nest with soft peaks around the outside.
Turn down the oven to 130C fan and bake for 1 hour until crisp on the outside. Turn the oven off and cool the meringue completely inside for a further 2 hours.
Ahead of serving, release the meringue from the baking paper gently, using a spatula if needed and place onto a large serving plate. Don’t worry if your meringue is cracked and imperfect, that’s the beauty of this pudd.
For the raspberry sauce if using, add the fruit into a saucepan with the lemon juice, sugar and water, bring to the boil and allow the fruit to cook for 5-10 minutes. Take off the heat and strain the raspberry mixture into a bowl using a fine mesh sieve, pressing the raspberries with a spoon to extract all the juice. Set the bowl aside to cool and pour into a small jug for serving.
When you’re ready to serve, whip the cream until soft peaks form and spoon into the centre of the meringue. Top with fresh berries of your choice, we’ve gone for strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Decorate with a dusting of icing sugar to serve and enjoy with a chilled glass of sparkling wine!