Nothing says Summer more to me than strawberries! Warm, slow, lazy days, Wimbledon, and my strawberry pavlova! I know that sounds a bit optimistic and maybe a bit nostalgic, so for a reality check this a great dessert to make when you are stuck in the house on a rainy day! It’s easy to make and everyone is always very impressed.
Ingredients for 8 to 10 portions
For the Meringue
6 egg whites from large eggs
A squeeze of lemon juice
175gr Caster sugar
50gr sifted icing sugar
For the Fruit and Cream
300gr strawberries roughly chopped
250ml of cream whipped to stiff peaks
A few fresh mint leaves chopped
175gr Caster sugar (kristalsuiker)
50gr sifted icing sugar (poedersuiker)
For Strawberry Sauce
1 x heaped teaspoon icing sugar
- For the meringue heat the oven to 120C, and place greaseproof paper on a baking tray.
- Whisk the egg whites with the lemon juice for about a couple of minutes until they form soft peaks.
- Add the caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. When all the caster sugar has been added whisk until the mix is glossy and stiff. Be careful not to over whisk or the mixture will lose its volume and become watery.
- Using a spatula fold the icing sugar into the mixture. Being gentle keeps the air in your meringue mix.
- Pour the mix onto the middle of your lined baking tray, spread it gently around making a sort of nest shape by creating a dip in the middle to hold the cream and fruit. Keep this meringue base quite thick.
- Place the meringue in the oven for about 2 hours. This meringue will come out a light caramel colour which I love, but if you want it pure white, bake it at 100C for 3 hours.
- To make the strawberry sauce, simply whizz the strawberries to a purée in a liquidizer, then pass this through a sieve and add the icing sugar. The amount of sugar really depends on how ripe your strawberries are. I would always recommend you use strawberries only in season as out of season they tend to be a little tasteless and watery.
- When the meringue is ready, leave it to cool completely, and move it to your serving plate. I often serve on a big wooden chopping board as its easy to transfer from the baking sheet and also my pavlova tends to always be bigger than my serving plates!
- Then fill the dip in the “nest” of the meringue with the whipped cream, arrange/sprinkle/tumble the chopped strawberries over the cream section, followed by drizzling the sauce, then a sprinkle with fresh mint. This should be done just before serving so that the meringue doesn’t get soggy with the cream.
- Pavlova’s are at their best with summer berries, be creative with what is in season.
- The other great fruit topping is passion fruit, but make sure they are ripe.
- If you want to make it lighter, use Greek Yogurt instead of cream. You can use this completely to replace the cream or you can mix it with cream or crème fraiche. You may need to mix your fruits with a little icing sugar to compensate for the acidity in the yogurt though.
- For a super healthy version, don’t use any dairy atall, just fill your pavlova with lots of different fruit. In this case it is best to macerate first. (Macerate = put all fruit in a bowl with about 4 x teaspoons of caster sugar and a squeeze of lemon and leave for about half an hour before serving. This process draws the juices from the fruit and sweetens them)