I set myself a goal a couple of years ago to learn to make meringue. I’d attempted it once and it went horribly wrong, but back then I rarely baked and really didn’t know much about anything at all. My second attempt went badly too, but that time I refused to accept it – I threw the failed version out, popped to the shop for more eggs, swapped my ‘foolproof’ recipe for the Delia version and I NAILED that sucker.
If you know how to make it, a pavlova is actually a super effortless and quick dessert. It’s light, too – perfect to follow up a heavy lunch or dinner. Oh, and it looks super impressive. You can even replace the cream with crème fraiche to make it even lighter but I’m not sure how down with that I am. I mean, double cream. Why would you take that out?
Also, homemade meringue is so much better than shopbought meringue. You get this fluffy gooeyness inside the meringue that is just wonderful. Oh god. I’m so sad the pavlova is gone. I need to eat this again!
(taken from Delia Smith)
175g caster sugar
3 large egg whites
1 tub double cream
Fruit of your choice (I used raspberries and blackberries)
1. Preheat the oven to 150c.
2. Start by separating your eggs and putting all 3 egg whites into a large clean bowl.
3. To separate the egg yolk from the egg whites, crack the egg into two halves and gently pour the yolk from one shell half to the other until all the egg white has oozed out. If any yolk gets into the egg whites, they won’t whip up properly.
4. Whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks. This will take a few minutes, but you’ll see the runny whites start to foam up and then the texture will start to change and become smoother.
5. When they just about look done, tip the bowl to one side. If the egg whites don’t move at all, they’re done – the real test is to tip the bowl completely upside down! Try not to over-whisk them though, as they may start to collapse.
Meringues should always be gravity defying.
6. Start whisking in the 175g of sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. Whisk after each addition until all the sugar is in. This will make the mixture stiffer and glossier.
7. When all the sugar is mixed in, it should be done! Note that the meringue mixture should still pass the ‘upside down’ test at this stage.
8. Top a baking sheet with baking parchment and blob the mixture onto it. You can be as neat or as messy as you want, but it should form a vague circle – the proper way is to make a circle in the middle and blob smaller circles around the edges, then make swirls in them with a knife. I kind of vaguely did that, but I was getting bored. It’s all going to be covered in cream anyway!
9. Pop the meringue into the oven and then immediately turn down the heat to 140c and cook for 1 hour.
10. After an hour, turn the heat of the oven off but leave the pavlova inside until it’s completely cold – overnight is ideal but it should be a minimum of 3 hours if you don’t have that long.
12. Get your whisk out again and start whisking the double cream to thicken it. It will seem totally pointless for a couple of minutes and then suddenly the mixture will change and it will start to thicken. It’s really weird. Anyway, the more you whisk, the thicker it will get – I like to stop it when it’s just started to thicken as I think it’s creamier.
14. Plonk the cream on the pavlova, spreading with a knife or even your fingers until it reaches the edges.
15. Now add your fruit – I did it in a circular design with my raspberries and blackberries.
16. And you’re done! Go, impress your friends and family and fill your bellies with cream. Hooray!
There are other recipes that involve vinegar or baking powder but the simple Delia recipe is the only one that’s worked for me every time. It’s super yummy with different variations – I’ve done it before with passionfruit which was REALLY good as all the juices ooze into the cream. Amazing.