Dinner Party Pavlova

I love having people round for a dinner party. I enjoy preparing the meal and getting excited about cooking food I wouldn’t usually make all the time. It is a chance to be a little more adventurous and creative.

I had some egg whites left that I froze after some baking (yes you can freeze them!) and so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to use them up and make a posh dessert. So I defrosted them and look what happened…..

The meringue is a Mary Berry recipe so you can’t go wrong there! I wanted to choose my own topping though and flavour it with vanilla and icing sugar. I just find plain whipped cream a bit boring to be honest! I am not a massive cream fan but when I have it I like to eat it properly!

Recipe (serves 4-6)

Meringue

3 large egg whites

175g caster sugar

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp cornflour

Topping

284ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 dessert spoon of icing sugar

generous handful of strawberries

Decoration

a few basil leaves

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 1500C
  • Draw a 20cm circle on a piece of baking parchment and place this on a baking tray (drawn side downwards so you don’t get that on the meringue). I used a cake tin to draw around. You can stick the corners of the parchment down with some remainder meringue mixture later.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. It is best to use room temperature egg whites for a better consistency.
  • Add the sugar, little by little, whisking all the time until the whites are a glossy finish. Mix the vinegar and cornflour together and gradually whisk this into the mixture, before adding the last spoonful of sugar.
  • Dollop the meringue onto the circle marked on baking parchment, keeping more meringue on the outer part of the circle. You want a domed effect. Stick the corners of the baking paper down with a little mixture too.
  • Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  • Remove the meringue from the baking parchment, turn off the oven and leave on the tray to cool until the oven has completely cooled. Keep the oven door closed to gradually cool the meringue down. The fan should help in the oven.
  • When the meringue is ready and on a serving dish, whip the cream up with the vanilla and icing sugar until thick but not over whipped.
  • Slice the strawberries thinly.
  • Arrange the cream on top of the meringue, followed by the strawberries and a few sprigs of basil. Trust me, the basil really works!

Pavlovas are such a party pleaser. They are also quite therapeutic to make and a great way to use up egg whites. They aren’t too expensive to make either! Enjoy!

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