Pavlova has many advantages: good-looking, gluten-free AND requires minimal ingredients. Make the meringue well before you need the pavlova to be served as it takes 45 minutes to cook , then is best left in the oven to dry out for a further few hours.
Nestled next to the mushy peas and Fray Bentos in your local cornershop, there should be a selection of tinned sliced pineapple , peaches and pears - maybe even some lychees, if you're lucky. These are your ready-made cornershop pavlova toppings.
The cornershop is your oyster when it comes to toppings so feel free to use fresh fruit like blueberries and strawberries here instead.
|For the meringue base:|
|For the topping:|
|200ml||double or whipping cream|
|1||vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract|
|1 x 400g||tin fruit of your choice (or 400g mixed tin fruit), in syrup or juice|
Preparation time: 20 minutes plus cooling. Cooking time: 45 minutes.
First make your meringue base. Preheat the oven to 140°C /gas 1 and line a baking tray with a piece of parchment paper cut to size.
Place the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl, preferably glass, and begin to whisk. After a few minutes, begin to add the sugar a few tablespoons at a time, and continue whisking until you have a glossy mixture forming stiff peaks. This can take 10 minutes or longer.
Once ready, artfully spoon your meringue on to the prepared baking tray (use a blob of the mixture to affix the underside of the parchment to the baking tray). Dolloping the mixture will ensure you have pretty peaks. Bake for 45 minutes. When the time is up, turn the oven off but leave the meringue in the oven (with the door closed) to dry for a further few hours, if possible.
When you are ready to serve the pav, attend to the topping. Pour the cream into a bowl, add the vanilla seeds scraped from the pod (or the vanilla extract), then lightly whisk to increase the volume a little - until thick (but don't overwhip ).
Place your meringue base on your serving dish, then spoon over the whipped cream. Drain your tinned fruit and artfully pour over the top. Enjoy immediately.