I think sometimes I get so caught up in life and work and cooking and laundry and cook-alongs I want to keep up with (very unsuccessfully, I might add) and every day cooking and blogging and, of course, my silly dog, that photos of recipes I tried get lost in the shuffle.
Such was the case with my son Tommy’s birthday cake. Yes, I know, I know, his birthday was in March and it is now July. And I know I did a spectacular post for his birthday dinner of Grandma Rosie’s Ravioli – and one would think that would have been enough cooking for one day but nooooooooooo – he wanted a pavlova for dessert.
Not being one tp deny my darling son any culinary request, I turned to the Domestic Goddess herself for help. Nigella Lawson’s pavlova recipes are terrific – though they really are basically all the same with a different fruit or adding some cocoa powder to make a chocolate pav. This particular version is adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess‘ Christmas Pavlova.
Not that I am trying to diminish the wonderfulness of MOI, but this recipe is so simple it isn’t even funny! It looks so spectacular and elegant no one would guess the simplicity in the process.
- 8 large egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 500 g (17.5 oz) superfine sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 500 mL (2 cups) whipping or double cream
NOTE: The eggs should be at room temperature. This step makes all the difference in the world. Leave them out for a few hours before separating the eggs. Use the egg yolks for a creme brulee or a pudding.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw an 8-inch (20 cm) circle on the paper with a kitchen pencil. Turn the paper over so the pencil markings will not be against your pavlova.
NOTE: You really can just do this free form. Those of you who know me already know I am a bit kooky about things like this. If you tell me in a recipe I should do it, then gosh darn it I am going to do it – at least the first time!
Beat the egg whites and salt with the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or an electric beater until thick soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar, a scattered spoonful or two at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cornstarch, vinegar and rosewater, and gently fold into the meringue.
Pour the meringue into the middle of the circle . Using a spatula, roughly flatten the top and smooth the sides.
Place in the preheated oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 300°. Bake for 1 3/4 hours, during which time the meringue will puff up. Turn off the heat, open the door and leave to cool sitting in the oven — it should be left to cool in the oven until shortly before serving, or alternately it can be cooked ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for a week or so.
While the pavlova is cooking, wash, hull, and slice the strawberries. Sprinkle a little sugar over the berries. Wash the raspberries and set 1/2 aside. The other half add to a small pot, over a low flame until they breakdown and release their juice and begins to thicken.
NOTE: I strained this. I don’t like seeds. If the seeds don’t bother you, skip this step.
Whip the whipping cream until thick and airy but not stiff. Once completely cooled, remove the meringue from the oven, gently move to a large flat-bottomed serving plate, removing the parchment paper. Make sure the flat side is on the serving plate. Pile on the whipped cream. Neatness does not count here. It’s messy appearance is part of its charm.
Scatter the strawberries and raspberries over the whipped cream. Drizzle some of the raspberry syrup over the berries. Dive in!
I love the berries with the squishy marshmallow of the pavlova. I could probably just eat the entire pavlova alone. Meringue has always been one of my favorite things. Enjoy!