Pavlova

Serves 16+

Ingredients:​

  • 8 large egg whites (use yesterday's leftovers if you didn't fancy the raw egg bit). Each egg white is about 2 tablespoons so pour out 16 spoonfuls if you're using the carton egg white. 

  • 500g unrefined golden caster sugar

  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar

  • 2 tsp (level) of cornflour

  • 400ml of double cream (I looked into alternatives like Elmlea but they are packed with E-numbers and trans fats. So, seeing as it's Christmas, I thought a little bit of indulgence can't hurt too much, so I've whipped it make it go further and reduced the amount.)

  • Punnet of strawberries - 16 topped so they have flat tops

  • Reduced fat spray cream (naughty!)

Method:

  • I take my pavlova baking advice from Nigella and with that in mind, heat the oven to 180 fan.

  • In a big bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form peaks. Don't overwhisk, it'll go grainy. 

  • Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and keep whisking until it makes glossy peaks. I choose to use golden caster sugar as it turns a lovely pale amber colour and I am not fussy about it being snow-white. Plus unrefined sugar has a more caramel taste. 

  • Using a big metal spoon, gently fold the cornflour and vinegar into the mix.

  • Dollop the meringue mix onto a parchment lined baking tray. Use a pallet knife to make a good side disc, about 25-30cm across. 

  • Put into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 120 degree. Bake for an hour and then turn the oven off. Leave the door closed and don't open it until the oven is cold. Boom. Easy. 

  • In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until it is fluffy and pillowy. Again, don't overwhisk or it will be hard to spread. 

  • Place the cold meringue onto a plate. Flip it over and lay it crispy shell side down, it will be softer underneath and will meld with the cream.

  • Spoon the cream onto the meringue and spread evenly.

  • Using the naughty spray cream, spray 16 evenly spaced dollops. Stand a flat topped strawberry in each one ot make a little Father Christmas hat. Add another tiny dollop of proper whipped cream to the top to make his pom-pom.

  • Slice the remainder of the strawberries and lay or scatter in the middle. Use a variety of soft fruits if you prefer.

  • Serve!

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