Summer Pav

Whilst at home in Manchester this weekend, we decided to make the most of the warm sunshine and have a barbecue. Elix was keen for a pavlova after seeing one made on Celebrity Masterchef and I duly obliged.
I know everyone has different preferences and methods when it comes to meringue and I have found a few which have worked for me – hot hot hot oven, cool oven, remove from oven, leave oven door open for an hour after cooking blah blah blah!
Anyway, my pav yesterday was a success and even Dad, who declared he doesn’t like meringue because it’s too sweet and he doesn’t like the texture was converted.
For 4-6 portions:
4 egg whites
200g caster sugar
We chose creme freche with strawberries and blueberries but others that I like include:
Pineapple, Mango, Coconut
Mixed Berries
Cherries, hazelnuts, chocolate
Passionfruit and Raspberry
Then dollops of whipped cream, silky creme freche or yoghurt can also be used. If you are feeling more adventurous ricotta cream or mascarpone are also delightful!
So to the “how to” or “how I do”:
Whisk the egg white until stiff peaks are formed then gradually add the sugar in as the meringue mixture becomes glossier, thicker and stiffer. Once silky and smooth use a metal spoon (somehow better for use with aerated mixtures) to pop onto a baking paper covered baking tray and into the oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes. Once a crust has formed on top and a slight colour has begun to appear, I turn the oven off and leave with the door open to cool for an hour.
The method above is French Meringue which whilst easiest, is riskiest and least stable. The method used by professionals and on Masterchef is Italian Meringue where hot sugar is added to the egg whites. This I’m told is a better method but as I don’t have either a sugar thermometer or a good track record with hot sugar (a story for another time!) I stick with French!
Anyway, back to the pav – when cooled remove from the oven – the top should have a thin crispy crust and inside soft and light. Top with cream/creme freche and fruit and devour!

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