Pavlova

This is the only Pavlova recipe I’ve ever used, and it comes from Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course (the one with the black cover, Delia is wearing a red jumper), which my parents gave me for Christmas in 1997. I’ve made many varieties of it though, using strawberries, raspberries, adding cocoa, dolloping lemon curd on the top, adding cherries and chopped chocolate à la Blackforest gateau, or like this, with nectarines and almonds. You can’t go wrong with a Pav, everyone loves them.

Nectarines, almond cream & chopped almonds

Ingredients

3 large egg whites

(or 120g whites from smaller eggs)

175g caster sugar

300ml double cream

2 tbsp icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Fruit of choice

Large handful of almonds

Method

  1. The night before you want to eat the Pav, get cracking.
  2. Heat oven to 150C, and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or parchment.
  3. Use an electric handheld whisk to whip up the egg whites until they form soft peaks and you can hold the bowl upside down over your head. I find that a freestanding mixer isn’t so good for this job, tending to leave a puddle of un-whisked egg whites behind.
  4. Keep whisking, and slowly add in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated and you’ve magically produced glossy firm meringue.
  5. Put a couple of little blobs of meringue on the baking tray to stick down the paper, then dollop on the meringue in a vaguely 20cm circle. Fill in the centre, form a dip in the middle and artfully swirl the edges up to make a kind of meringue nest.
  6. Pop it in the oven, and immediately turn the temperature down to 140C.
  7. Leave to bake for 1 hour, then turn off the oven but leave the meringue in there for as long as possible – we’re talking 10 hours minimum here, overnight is even better.
  8. When you need to serve it, whip the cream until firm but still soft (you don’t want it to resemble butter), adding in the icing sugar and flavouring if so desired, and use a blob of said cream to stick your meringue to your serving dish.
  9. Artfully swirl the cream onto the pav, then gently spoon on your prepared fruit of choice, and chopped almonds if the mood takes you.
  10. Sieve over a little more icing sugar, and serve.

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