I love a good pudding, particularly those that take no time at all to prepare and you can forget about them once they are in the oven! For me a Pavlova is one of those puddings. Last week I had a couple of friends coming for supper, I wasn’t sure what time they would be arriving, so I didn’t want to make a pudding that would tie me to the kitchen if it was half way through cooking. Pavlova presented the perfect option because meringue benefits from being left in the oven to cool down once cooked. This meant I could simply set the timer on my oven and not worry about it at all! Please note, this did not stop the Old Man cracking what was in his mind a “hilarious” joke which went along the lines of, “Is there meant to be something turning black in the oven?” I did not doubt my meringue for one moment and sure enough it was perfect!
One of the real joys of Pavlova is you can put just about any fruit on it and it tastes delicious. My preference is to use soft fruit in particular raspberries, however, they were buried at the bottom of the freezer so I used a combination of blackcurrants and blackberries and it worked brilliantly. The tartness of the blackcurrants lifted the flavour of the blackberries and with the help of a little sugar turned into a lovely topping for the Pavlova.
Pavlova with a blackcurrant and blackberry topping
- 3 egg whites
- 6 ½oz caster sugar
[Quick tip: don’t throw away the egg yolks they will keep for a few days if you place them in a bowl, cover with milk and store in the fridge. Then you can use them up later in the week in a quiche or a sponge based pudding.]
- 5-6 heaped tbsp crème fraiche
- 200g blackberries (fresh or frozen)
- 100g blackcurrants (fresh or frozen)
- 1tbsp cassis (optional)
- Sugar (for sweetening)
- 1tsp arrowroot (made into a paste by adding 1tsp water)
1. Preheat your oven to 160C fan.
2. Firstly make your meringue by whisking your egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
3. Slowly add in the sugar a little at a time and whisk very well.
4. Place the meringue mix onto a baking tray that has been lined with greaseproof paper and form a circle with a slight lip. (I find it helpful to draw a circle in pencil onto the greaseproof paper first).
5. Place the meringue mix in the oven and turn down to 100C fan, cook for 1½ hours, then turn the oven off and leave to cool inside the oven.
6. To make the topping, place the berries in a pan with the cassis or water and heat gently for 5-10 minutes, add sugar to taste.
7. Drain the juice from the berries into another pan and heat gently.
8. Add the arrowroot paste to the juice and stir well until the juice starts to thicken, then remove from the heat.
9. Gently spoon the crème fraiche onto your meringue, then add the fruit and pour over the syrup. You now have a gorgeous Pavlova. Enjoy!