Berry Pavlova (or Meringues)

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Berry Pavlova (or Meringues)

  • Servings: 8 - 10 for pavlova or about 24 meringues
  • Time: Prep - 1 hour; baking - ±2 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Decorate with meringues

Ingredients

  • 2 egg whites, preferably at room temperature
  • 1,5c castor sugar
  • 1t vanilla essence
  • 2T white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2t baking powder
  • 1T boiling water

For the pavlova filling:

  • 1c whipping cream
  • ±2t castor sugar
  • Berries or other fruit of your choice
  • Extra castor sugar for dusting

Optional extras for individual meringues:

  • A bar of dark chocolate – cut into small pieces
  • Chopped nuts
  • Anything else you think might be nice (make sure it’s dry – extra moisture will dilute the meringue mix)

Method

Preheat the oven to 140°C and cut a piece of baking paper to fit a big flat baking tray. If you’re making a pavlova, draw a circle on the paper to fit your serving dish – this provides a guide for the base. If you’re making individual meringues and adding chocolate or something else, chop it up now.

Beat the egg whites until they hold their shape. Then add half a cup of castor sugar at a time, beating well after each addition. The sugar will dissolve in and the mix will start to hold some of its shape again. At the very least, it should hold the pattern of the beaters as you take them out.

If, after about 5 minutes of beating, you don’t get to this point, dump the mix and wash your bowl and beaters really well before starting again with fresh egg whites.

If all is well at this point, add the vanilla, vinegar, baking powder and boiling water. When you add the boiling water, the baking powder will start to foam. Immediately start beating again. The mixture will go a bit runny for a while but keep beating until it’s stiff enough again to easily hold its shape (otherwise the meringues will collapse onto the baking sheet).

For individual meringues:

Now add and beat in any extras, like chocolate or nuts, if you are using them.

Then use a teaspoon to drop balls of mix onto the baking paper. The meringues expand a lot in the oven so leave plenty of space between them. You can also pipe the mix if it’s plain – this obviously won’t work if there are chunks of chocolate in it.

For pavlova:

Use a big spoon to drop about a third of the mixture onto the circle on your baking paper. Spread the meringue mix out to cover the circle.

Then use a teaspoon to drop balls of mix around the edge of the circle to make your meringue nest. If you have mixture left over, drop teaspoons straight onto the baking paper to make individual meringues. Again you can also pipe the mix if it’s plain.

For meringues and pavlova:

Bake in the centre of the oven for about an hour, then turn off the oven and leave the meringue in for another hour or even overnight to dry out. If you want them gooey in the middle, lower the temperature a bit or bake for less time. Experiment with the temperature and time to get them how you like them.

Once the meringue is cooked, handle it very gently as it’s extremely brittle!

You can store it plain like that for a couple of days in an airtight tin, or freeze it (very carefully) if you aren’t going to use it soon, then defrost a few hours before you need it. I froze mine for a week and it was perfect when I defrosted it.

About an hour before serving, whip the cream with a little castor sugar. Taste it to see if you want to add any more sugar, remembering that the meringue is already very sweet.

Pile the cream into the centre of the pavlova and arrange your fruit on top. Sprinkle with a little extra castor sugar for decoration. If you like, add a couple of individual meringues on top, or serve them separately on the side.

Leave the pavlova in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. It will start going slightly gooey now that the cream has been added, so don’t leave it more than an hour or two (max).

If you’re serving individual meringues, pile them on a plate with a bowl of whipped cream nearby, and let everyone dig in and help themselves (just be sure to put some serviettes nearby to use to catch the crumbs and stray bits of cream)!

Serve meringues with:

  • Slightly sweetened, whipped cream
  • Cream cheese or creamed cottage cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Berries
  • Other fruit
  • Lemon curd

 

© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2014

http://www.inspirednourishment.wordpress.com

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