This pavlova is from Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat, her first cookbook. It is a great, comprehensive starter cookbook as it has a huge variety of recipes and very clear instructions. I regularly make this pavlova for dessert and it is generally a crowd pleaser. Don’t try to take shortcuts as you won’t get the results you are looking for – believe me, I learned the hard way! Make sure the bowl you are using to whisk the egg whites in is spotlessly clean. You can rub a cut lemon around the inside of the bowl to be sure. Also make sure the eggs are separated properly and that no yolk gets into the whites. I normally separate each egg and add to the bowl individually. That way, if you mess up one egg, that is the only one ruined and you don’t have to dump 4 eggs whites! I often make this the night before I need it and allow it to cool overnight in the oven. This dries out the outside of the meringue slowly. You want the outside of the cooked meringue to be crisp and the inside to be soft and almost like a marshmallow. You can use whatever fruit you like on top (Nigella suggests passion fruit), but strawberries are my favourite. I often add grated dark chocolate or crumble a flake over the top.
*Edited with new pics. The strawberries used here were not the greatest so I chopped them up small and macerated for a while in some vanilla sugar. This draws out the juice from the fruit and creates that lovely syrup you see above.
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- A pinch of salt
- 250g castor sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- Few drops of vanilla extract (not essence!)
- 300ml double cream, whipped until firm
- Approx 250g of your chosen fruit
- Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Beat your egg whites with the pinch of salt with an electric/stand mixer until stiff satiny peaks form. You want the eggs to hold their shape when you take out the whisk.
- Then beat in the sugar a third at a time until the mixture is stiff and shiny. The mixture should be smooth and you should not be able to feel the sugar.
- Sprinkle over the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and fold in lightly.
- Pile the mixture on to the parchment paper in a circle approx. 20cm in diameter. Flatten the top and smooth the sides.
- Place in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 150C/130C fan/gas mark 2.
- Cook for 75 mins. Keep an eye on it from an hour onwards but mine usually takes the full 75 mins.
- Turn off the oven and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.
- When ready to serve, peel the pavlova from the parchment and turn upside down onto a large flat plate.
- The outside will crack and crumble a bit but this is perfectly normal and fine. Dollop the cream onto the pavlova and decorate whatever way you wish with your fruit. Enjoy!