RECIPE CORNER

By Laura Campbell

Summer pavlova

Serves 10-12

Pavlova

Chewy meringue, lashings of cream, sweet fruit with passionfruit syrup...no wonder Pavlova is an Aussie favourite. However, I often find traditional pav' a little too sweet. My solution is to pair it with tangy lemon curd, tart raspberries, thick natural yoghurt or sour cream for balance and flavour.

FOR THE MERINGUE:

  • 6 large free-range egg whites
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour, sifted
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • a pinch of sea salt

FOR THE FILLING/DECORATION:

  • 300ml very cold, full-fat whipping cream
  • 100ml crème fraîche (substitute fullfat sour cream or natural yoghurt)
  • 4-5 tbsp (about 60-70g) lemon curd
  • 350g fresh berries (I used a mixture of sliced strawberries and blueberries, however raspberries, mulberries and blackberries work wonderfully)
  • 100g pistachio nuts or almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp floral honey, to drizzle
  • Optional: a few sprigs of fresh thyme, mint or edible flowers, to garnish

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C° (300 degrees F). Line two flat-bottomed trays with baking parchment. Set aside.

Whisk the egg whites at medium speed in a clean, dry bowl until they begin to form firm peaks. Start adding the sugar in a steady stream, beating continuously. When fully combined, add the salt, sifted cornflour and white wine vinegar. Turn the beaters up to high speed and whisk for another 10-15 minutes or until the mixture becomes glossy, smooth and not grainy.

When ready, drop half of the mixture onto each prepared piece of baking parchment (about a 20cm-diameter circle each). Smooth the mixture out to fill each circle evenly (try to ensure that the height and density of each circle is as even as possible). Place the trays into your pre-heated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. When cooked, the meringues should be dry to touch and slightly hollow when tapped. Leave the meringues to cool in the oven (temperature off, door slightly ajar) for one hour.

Whilst the meringues are cooling, prepare your filling. Place the whipping cream into clean, medium bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Mix through the crème fraîche, yoghurt or sour cream, then refrigerate until you're ready to complete your meringue stack.

TO ASSEMBLE:

Carefully peel the meringue discs off the parchment. Dab a couple of teaspoons of the prepared cream onto a cake platter (to stop the bottom meringue dish from moving) and place one meringue disc on top. Smooth over half the cream mixture, then dab on the lemon curd. Scatter half the berries.

Place the second meringue disc on top. Cover with the remaining whipped cream (leave about 1-2 cm from the edge of the meringue) then scatter over the remaining berries. Top with the crushed nuts and drizzle with a little floral honey. Scatter over the edible flower petals and thyme leaves, if using. Serve immediately.

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