Vanilla pavlova with mixed fruits
Pavlova is one of those easy recipes that everyone thinks is very complex. Pavlova scares a lot of people but follow these fail-safe steps for a sure thing.
6 large egg whites
275g (11oz) caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon corn flour
½ teaspoon white vinegar
480ml (16floz) cream
200g (8oz) mixed fruits
Chocolate curls and icing sugar to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 2/150°C/300°F. Grease a flat 36cm x 26cm/14in x 10in baking tray lightly and cover with baking parchment.
2. Place the egg whites in a clean, dry mixing bowl with no trace of oil or grease.
3. Mix with an electric mixer on setting two for 2–3 minutes until the egg whites become firm and hold their shape.
4. Add the sugar one dessertspoon at a time until the egg whites become glossy and velvety. The test is to turn the bowl upside down – when the mix is ready it is so stiff that it doesn’t move.
5. Add the vanilla extract, corn flour and vinegar and mix gently for 30 seconds on setting one.
6. Using a spatula, spoon the mixture onto the baking tray forming a rectangular shape.
7. Place in the preheated oven for about 70–80 minutes. Keep the oven door closed. As it bakes the colour will change from gleaming white to pale beige.
8. Turn off the oven but leave the pavlova in the oven to cool and when ready to dress it, gently slip it off the baking parchment onto the presentation dish.
9. To dress with a casual look, whip the cream loosely and pile onto the pavlova, spreading to the edge. Pile the fruit into the centre and then sprinkle chocolate curls all over the pavlova.
10. To finish, dust with sieved icing sugar.