This Pavlova, and slight variations of it, is probably the dessert I make most often. It is a consistent crowd-pleaser as it always comes out the exact same, sweet, marshmellowy and LIGHT! It is so light, in fact, that it is gorgeous to have after a big meal. I’ve made it to follow Christmas dinner loads of times as it is perfect for after that epic feed. Plus, I detest Christmas cake and pudding. The raspberries may not be the most seasonal topping but your local supermarket can probably hook up with some lovely ones that have more air-miles than you do!
There probably was just the one time that this pavlova didn’t turn out exactly like the others and that was the first time I made it. It was still delicious and we still annihilated it but looking back, I think I remember it expanding outwards while baking which I’d now say was because the egg whites were under-whipped so don’t make that mistake! There is that old tip that if you invert the meringue bowl over your head and if it holds firm and doesn’t fall on top of you then it’s whipped enough, so maybe overturn the bowl onto the worktop just in case.
This can also be made the night before you serve it too, another reason why it’s perfect for Christmas day! Last thing the night before is best as it needs to cool down in the oven for a few hours so you don’t want to be needing the oven for anything else. Once it’s cool you can take it out and leave it until just before serving. You’ll need to make the raspberry coulis and whip the cream but that doesn’t take long. I usually leave the cream until I’ve finished my main. Then you need to invert the pavlova onto a serving plate and peel back the parchment paper. This will expose the now upward-facing base. Once slathered with cream, one will melt into the other and instantly become soft and cloudy.
- 8 egg whites
- a pinch of salt
- 500g caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 500ml cream
- 50g raspberries
- 250g raspberries
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Whisk the egg whites and salt until satin peaks form.
- Whisk again adding the sugar about a tablespoonful at a time.
- Continue whisking until stiff peaks form, then gently fold in the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour keeping as much air inside the egg whites as possible.
- Once those ingredients are incorporated check the consistency of the meringue. If it flows at all or if there is any give, whisk again until you are able to turn the bowl upside down without the meringue spilling.
- Line a baking tray with parchment. Dotting the 4 corners on the underside of the parchment will hold it in place while baking.
- Pile the meringue into the centre of the tray and smooth the top so that when it's inverted after baking it will have a flat base. You want it not to be a fat, flattened dome shape, roughly 25cm in diameter. Draw a rough outline on the parchment first if you like.
- Now transfer to the oven and after 2 minutes, turn it down to 150 degrees and let it bake for an hour. Then turn off the oven but leave the pavlova inside the oven to cool down for a few hours or overnight.
- Blitz together the ingredients for the coulis until smooth and then pass through a fine mesh sieve.
- Just before serving, invert the pav onto a plate or cake stand and remove the parchment.
- Whip the cream until stiff and spread over the upturned, soft base of the pav.
- Dot the cream with 50g of raspberries and drizzle over some of the coulis serving the rest at the table for people to add more themselves.