I’ve invented a twist on a traditional Pavlova, a meringue, cream and fruit-based dessert. Made to resemble a Festive wreath, it not only looks impressive, it is also incredibly light and therefore a sensible way to end your Christmas lunch. Or any time for that matter!
Ingredients - serves 8-10
6 egg whites, separated from 6 large eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
300g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
280ml double cream
2 tsp vanilla paste or scrape the seeds from one vanilla pod
A combination of fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pomegranates or grapes
A handful of toasted hazelnuts or almonds, roughly chopped
Fresh mint leaves
A few chunks of 70-80% chocolate, melted
1 – Pre-heat the oven to 140C/Fan 120C/GM1.
2 – Take a piece of baking paper large enough to cover a baking tray. Using an average dinner plate (approximately 30 cm), draw a circle thick enough to see if the paper is flipped over. Flip the paper.
3 – Take a large mixing bowl and using a piece of kitchen towel, wash the bowl out with a splash of vinegar (this will remove any oil or grease that may be present, essential for a good meringue).
4 – Using an electric whisk, begin to whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then beat in the cinnamon. Add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time, beating all of the time, until the mixture is soft and glossy and will not tip out if held aloft. Add the vinegar and cornflour and beat in thoroughly.
5 – Using a large serving spoon, add large mounds of the meringue mixture, moving around the circle (aim to keep the meringue inside the circle and use it as a guide). If there is any mixture left, just evenly top up the mounds.
6 – Place the meringue onto the middle shelf and then turn the oven down to 120C/Fan 100C/GM Half. Cook for 1 hour and 10 minutes then switch the oven off and leave the meringue to cool in the oven (you can leave it overnight so great to do the night before for less work on the day itself). This is essential to create a chewy interior to the meringue.
7 – Whisk the cream together with the vanilla until it forms soft peaks. Do not over whisk it. You can also add a couple of tbsp icing sugar too but we think the meringue and fruit are sweet enough.
8 – Put the pavlova onto your serving dish. Begin to place mounds of the whipped cream all around the meringue.
9 – Cut large fruit such as strawberries into quarters then start to decorate the pavlova in any way that you want.
10 – Sprinkle over the toasted nuts, add a few small mint leaves then finally drizzle with the dark chocolate. Pile any leftover fruit and nuts into the centre of the pavlova and serve.