Pavlova is so evocative of springtime for me. I took inspiration for this pavlova from the spring edition of the Waitrose recipe guide. Even if you don't usually shop at Waitrose it's worth popping in and picking up the magazine and seasonal recipe ideas as they are jam packed with flavoursome ideas for your table.
This happens to be the first time I've made meringue. Whenever I make Eton Mess I use store bought meringue nests but I find they lack the gooey texture I recollect from childhood when my aunts and granny would serve the most enormous examples of this delicious dessert at Easter gatherings. They were usually topped with vanilla flavoured whipped cream and a mass of red fruits to act as counterbalance to all the sweet meringue. I hope you enjoy my take on this classic dessert.
You will need:
5 large egg whites
250g of caster sugar
450ml of double cream
2 tbsp of icing sugar
100g of passion fruit coulis
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
2 ripe pomegranates, remove the juicy seeds from from the peel
Preheat your oven to 100ºC and prepare three baking sheets with baking parchment.
In a large (preferably cold stainless steel bowl) whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks then add half the castor sugar and continue to whisk, gradually add the remaining castor sugar and whisk until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.
Spoon one third of of the meringue mix onto the prepared baking tray and gently push it into a circular shape. Repeat this step two more times until you have used all the meringue mix and the circles are of a similar size. Bake the meringues for one and a half hours, turning them and or switching them around in the oven every half an hour. Once baked turn off the oven and leave the meringue's in the oven overnight. It's really important to leave them in the oven to cool otherwise you will have real trouble trying to get an overly gooey meringue off the baking parchment.
Assemble the meringue immediately prior to serving, but if absolutely necessary up to an hour before serving. Whip the cream into soft peaks being careful not to over whip it (if it goes into lumps or doesn't look smooth you've over whipped it) and add the passion fruit coulis. Gently fold the coulis through the cream and put a small spoonful onto the middle of the serving plate, place the first meringue base over this and gently push it down. It's like a tiny bit of cement that will stop your pavola sliding off the plate.
Spoon a layer of cream over the meringue and add a layer of the fresh mango and pomegranate seeds, add the second meringue and repeat these steps until the pavlova is assembled and top with the last of the fruit. Now get ready to be adored by your family and guests.