Winter Berry Pavola

Having never been a fan of Christmas pud, and increasingly put off by equally heavy, melting chocolate desserts around Christmastime, a pavlova was perfect for satisfying my sweet tooth after an already indulgent meal. Topped with a mixture of winter fruits , whipped cream and sprinkled with icing sugar this pav stood out and went down very well!

Ingredients

For the meringue:
4 large free-range egg whites
225g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cornflour

For the filling:
400ml whipping cream
600g mixed berries
(I used defrosted raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, plus fresh strawberries, halved)
2 passion fruit
mint sprigs, to decorate
sifted icing sugar, to decorate

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Place a dinner plate on a sheet of baking parchment and draw around it.
2. Carefully seperate the egg whites from the yolks using multiple bowls to prevent any contamination, then put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk with an kenwood chef/kitchenaid style mixer until stiff but not dry. They are ready when you can turn the bowl upside down without the eggs sliding out – if you’re brave hold it above your head!
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3. Gradually whisk in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking for a few seconds between each addition. Adding the sugar slowly helps to build up volume in the meringue and make it stiff and a real glossy shine. Finally, whisk in the vanilla extract and cornflour.
4. Dab a small amount of the meringue in the corners of a large baking sheet. Position the baking parchment using the meringue dabs to secure it to the tray. Then spoon the meringue into the circle and shape with the back of a serving spoon or rubber spatula to create a large meringue nest, with soft peaks rising on all sides.

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5. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour until very lightly coloured and crisp on the outside. After 1 hour, turn the oven off and leave the meringue for a further hour, then remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

6. As close as possible to serving, whip the cream until firm, soft peaks form and spoon into the centre of the meringue. Top with the top artfully with the fruits and passion fruit pulp. Decorate with a drizzle or the frozen raspberry juices/coulis and sifted icing sugar to serve.

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