Happy first day of spring! We have spent the weekend in Manchester with my brother and I feel like it has been nothing but cold and grey but I have woken up this morning to blue sky, sunshine and singing birds. So let’s hope that this is the start of finer weather and not just a tease before it snows or something.
If I am honest I first started to see hints of spring a couple of weekends ago when it was Mother’s Day. I had glimpses of blue sky and the daffodils in our garden had reared their heads and were brightening the place up. In honour of the change in weather I made this dessert for our Mother’s Day dinner. It is full of fruit that reminds me of the summer and I cannot wait to make it in the summer when the fruit will be at its sweetest. Passionfruit is currently my favourite fruit, the tropical taste is transporting me on to a beach (wouldn’t that be nice). For now, however, I will continue to dream of that holiday as the weather changes its mind from said sunshine, to rain, to snow and then back to sunshine.
At the end of the meal I brought this out and it went down an absolute treat. Between the four of us we pretty much polished the whole thing off so it can’t be half bad I would say. The other reason that I am quite excited about this recipe is my discovery of 2 Chicks Egg Whites. What a revelation. I know I am so completely and utterly behind the times, please forgive me. They are brilliant. So easy, convenient and help keep things a bit tidier in the kitchen (I only saw a bit). The best bit, for me, is the fact that I don’t need to spend ages fishing out bits of egg shell out of the bowl. It would seem that no matter how careful I think I am being a bit of pesky egg shell will always land in the bowl.
Nigella has often referred to herself a a ‘pavaholic’ and it is easy to see why. I love pavlovas for their ease and flavour. You can make the base in advance and freeze it, defrosting before using it (obviously) and then it is just a case of whipping up a bit of cream and chopping a bit of fruit – et voila!
Sunshine Pavlova | Serves 4-6
- 5 egg whites or 150g
- 250g white caster sugar
- 1 tsp of sherry or white wine vinegar
- 100g lemon curd or orange curd
- 350g double cream
- 1 vanilla pod, cut lengthways seeds removed
- 4 passion fruit, pulp removed
- 200g icing sugar
- 100g strawberries
- 100g blueberries
- Meringue Kisses – I used the Meringue Girls recipe which can be found here.
- Preheat your oven to 200°c
- Line a deep baking tray with baking paper and pour your sugar in. I shake the sugar about to make it so it is a nice even layer. Then put it in the oven to heat up.
- Get another baking sheet and line it with baking paper, drawing a 23cm diameter circle on the back.
- Whilst that is in the oven put your egg whites and vinegar into a bowl of a free standing mixer (or a large glass or stainless steel bowl for a handheld electric whisk) and start whisking slowly to begin with before increasing the speed to maximum until forming stiff peaks.
- Check on your sugar. You just want the edges to look they are starting to melt. Warming the sugar helps it to dissolve into the egg whites quickly. Turn the oven temperature down to 180.
- Once your sugar is ready keep whisking the egg whites whilst adding the hot sugar in one spoon at a time. After all the sugar is added keep the whisk going for another 5 minutes or so. Your meringue will be ready when you take a bit between two fingers and it is smoother and not grainy, if it is still grainy keep whisking. You should have a wonderfully thick, shiny, smooth meringue to work with.
- Now the mixture is ready dollop it onto your prepared baking tray and smooth it out into a nice disk (using the circle as your template).
- Place it in the oven and reduce the temperature to 150 and bake for about 45minutes. You want the outside of the meringue to be hard but the centre to be like marshmallow. After 45 minutes turn the oven off but leave the meringue in the oven to cool before transferring it to a serving plate.
- When you are ready to serve, mix the passionfruit pulp with 100g of the icing sugar and leave to one side. Then whip up the double cream with the remaining icing sugar and the seeds from one vanilla pod. You want the cream to be softly whipped, not too stiff.
- Spread the cream over the pavlova base. Beat the curd slightly with a spoon to loosen it up before putting it on top of the cream and using a knife to swirl it into the cream a little bit.
- Put the strawberries and blueberries on top before drizzling the whole thing with the passionfruit pulp.
- Decorate with some meringue kisses.