Prodigous Strawberry Pavlova
In between a hectic round of street parties over the Jubilee weekend, I wanted to make a dessert for a gathering on Monday evening. As I had several boxes of really good strawberries, eggs, home made caramel and a time limit …. strawberry pavlova was an obvious choice. I pre-made the meringue base on Sunday night, pre-prepared the strawberries and chantilly cream on Monday morning and went to a lunch time street party knowing all would be well.
The recipe is adapted from one by Nigella Lawson, substituting strawberries for her raspberries and using chantilly cream for extra ooomph. If you want to you could use strawberries and raspberries, adding passion fruit and lychees as Nigella does in hers. I find it all those different fruits too much for a pavlova! I much prefer the classic simplicity of strawberries, chantilly cream and meringue.
For the base
8 free-range egg whites
500g caster sugar
4 tsp cornflour
2 tsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp vanilla extract
For the topping
600ml double cream
45g icing sugar
2 boxes of strawberries (hulled, quarter larger ones & soak in bowl with caster sugar to taste).
Caramel to drizzle over.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and draw a 25cm/10inch diameter circle onto it with a pencil.
In a bowl or stand mixer whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Slowly whisk in the sugar one tablespoon at a time, until you get stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted out of the mixture.
Sprinkle in the sifted cornflour, adding the vinegar and vanilla extract to the egg whites and fold in gently with a metal spoon. I use a stand mixer so just give it a few revolutions of the whisk attachment to make sure everything is mixed in. It is the addition of the cornflour and vinegar which keeps inside of the pavlova soft and marshmallow like.
Spoon the meringue mixture on the baking parchment within your marked circle and using a spatula, flatten the top and smooth the sides.
Place in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 120ºC/250ºF/Gas ½. Cook for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave to cool completely.
Once cool, remove the meringue based from the oven (you can keep it in an airtight container for a couple of days or store in a freezer for up to one month).
As the base can be quite fragile, I tend to trim the excess baking parchment off with scissors and find a large flat dish on which to assemble the pavlova.
For the topping I make chantilly cream by whipping double cream in a stainless steel bowl (glass will do) which has been chilled beforehand in the freezer. Wipe the bowl and pour in your cream and beat until cream forms soft peaks. Then mix in your sieved icing sugar being careful not to over beat. The cream should be firm but still light in texture.
Spoon the cream onto the meringue base, spreading it outwards to the edge of the base. Then load on your strawberries and dribble on the juices (the addition of a little sugar to the cut strawberries encourages the juices out of the strawberries (masceration).
Finally take your caramel and if you need to soften it place the jar in a bowl of boiled water) and drizzle all over the top of the pavolva. Indulge and enjoy.
I will post a recipe for making caramel very soon. It really isnt difficult to make and can be stored in the fridge in a jars for several weeks. If you don’t have any caramel to hand, you could make a fruit couli using fresh raspberries and icing sugar. Whizz them in a food processor and blend into a smooth sauce and
ideally pass through a sieve to remove the pips. Drizzle liberally all over the strawberry & cream covered pavlova.