Perfect Pavlova with “Decide As You Go” Toppings

I make Pavlova quite a bit in our house, mainly because it’s my husbands favourite desert and for me, any opportunity to eat something slathered in whipped cream is all good in my book!

But as there are only two humans in our house (the two dogs being the other half of our littel family), and what with a Pavlova being quite large, having the same topping on it can be a bit boring by the time you get to the last slice! So, here’s an idea – if it’s only for the two of you then only make your meringue and choose a different topping every time you want a slice! Simple! And here’s another top tip: egg whites freeze really well! So if for any reason you are separating eggs to use the yolk only, bag the egg whites up (preferably in four’s) tie up and chuck in the deep freeze. Anytime the whim to make a Pavlova takes you then, you have quick and easy access to egg whites once defrosted!

This receipe makes sure you get a lovely, gooey, marshmallowey meringue with a lovely crispy crust every time! The secret is in the cornflower and the vinegar (which you won’t taste), and the vanilla add an extra note of sweetness!

Ingredients (makes one large meringue):
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
1 tsp of white wine vinegar
1 tsp of cornflower
1 tsp of vanilla essence
Preheat an oven to 150 degs celsius.
Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper.
Whisk the egg whites into a stiff peak.
Add in the caster sugar a little at a time, whisking constantly, until you get stiff, glossy peaks of meringue.
Whisk in the vinegar, cornflower and vanilla essence until all thoroughly combined.
Spoon out the meringue mix onto the parchment paper in a circle no bigger than the size of a medium cake tin. You can draw this out on the parchment paper if this helps you visually.
Place in the oven and bake for one hour. Then turn the oven heat off but leave the meringue in the oven to cool down completely.
When completely cool, transfer onto a plate, slice and serve with the toppings of your choosing.
Topping Suggestions:
Vanilla custard (home made or a good quality shop bought fresh one), whipped cream, fresh strawberries and raspberries and a grating of good quality white and milk chocolate.
Whipped cream and some Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote (recipe here).
Baked plums, peaches and nectarines (baked with orange zest, vanilla pod and light brown muscovado sugar), whipped cream and dolce de leche.
Blackberry jam swirled in whipped cream.
Morello cherries in syrup, whipped cream and grated dark chocolate.
…or whatever else comes to mind! Sit back, and Enjoy!

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