In my short life, there have been a few individuals and associated bakes that have sparked my passion for baking. I talked loads about my gran in my first book and in pretty much every interview I’ve ever done. But one person I’ve never mentioned is Mike Skinner. When I was wee, but sometime after I was beginning to feel too cool to bake cakes, my dad would take me to the café Mike ran, usually after my Saturday morning rollerblading session (my sole exercise of the week).
Despite Shetland’s tradition for sensational home-baking, this was the only place that would do it on demand. The muffins were good, but the Pavlova was excellent. My favourite contained only kiwi, the green juice pooling between the never-ending waves of whipped cream. There would be an attempt to slice it, but then it would simply be scraped from its tray and shovelled into a bowl. Just as it should be. Thank you, Mike.
This is basic and I am not sorry. You can use any fruit, though kiwi is best. Do not use a piping bag. Do not glaze.
- 4 medium egg whites
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 pint double cream
- caster sugar and vanilla extract, to taste
- 6 kiwi fruits
1. First, preheat your oven to 120°C/100°C fan/Gas ½.
2. Into a large, clean bowl (not plastic or silicone), place the egg whites. They should be free of any trace of yolk – if there is any remaining, use a spoon to scoop it out and use a torch or the light on your phone to make sure there’s none left.
3. Using an electric whisk or stand mixer on the highest speed available, whisk the whites until light, fluffy and stiff. When they’re not getting any bigger, start adding the caster sugar, a teaspoon at a time, still whisking on the highest speed. When it’s all incorporated, keep whisking for a bit longer before setting aside.
4. Use a wee touch of the meringue to stick a sheet of baking paper to a baking tray. Then, scoop your meringue into one massive circular blob. Try to make it thinner in the middle and thicker towards the edges. A thicker crust is required because so much of the centre will become soggy when laden with cream.
5. Bake your meringue for approximately 2 hours – I like a bit of beige (even brown) on my Pavlova. Leave it to cool on the tray.
6. Whip the cream by hand in a cold bowl until just coagulated, adding sugar and vanilla to taste. Peel and slice the kiwi fruits.
7. Scoop about half the cream on top of the meringue disc and spread it around. Add about a third of the kiwi fruits then cover completely with another layer of cream and top with the rest of the fruit.