Meringue has always been my nemesis. I’ve never been able to achieve the thick glossy mixture that I can fearlessly hold over my head. Instead, my peaks seem to remain soft and collapse in the bowl.
On New Year’s Eve, I attempted a pavlova, and for the first time ever, it succeeded. Using a classic Jamie recipe, the peaks were stiff and glossy, resulting in a chewy meringue with a crunchy outside. Just the way a meringue should be.
Pavlova is a classic summer dessert, always being served at a BBQ on a warm evening, but there’s no reason it can’t be changed for the seasons.
Poached pears make a great dessert, whether you’re poaching them in red wine, or drizzling them all over with butterscotch sauce. When they’re put on top of a meringue, the juices soak through adding an extra flavour and sauce. By topping the pavlova with greek yoghurt instead of cream, it takes away a little sweetness, meaning you can have a larger slice!
As with most things in life, pavlova is improved no end by the addition of chocolate. After a little time, the chocolate sets. I suggest drizzling the chocolate on, this way, you get some big chunks of melted chocolate on certain slices.
The combination of chewy meringue, juicy poached pears and sweet chocolate turns the summer pavlova into a winter dessert. It’s best eaten on the first day while the meringue is still crunchy, but if there are leftovers, mix it all up to create a winter eton mess.
The Recipe – Originally from Jamie Oliver Christmas Cookbook p. 222
4 egg whites
200g golden caster sugar
1 bottle red wine
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 pot greek yoghurt
50g dark chocolate, melted
A few ginger biscuits, crushed
– Pre-heat the oven to 130 degrees celsius. In a free stand mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt.
– Whisk until they form stiff peaks.
– Gradually add the sugar.
– Keep the mixer going for another 8 minutes, until the mixture is thick and glossy.
– Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Pour the mixture onto the tray and spread into a large circle.
– Bake in the oven for 1 hour 20 minutes.
– Turn the oven off and leave in the oven till the oven is cool.
– For the pears, fill the pan with the wine, spices, honey and juice and zest of the clementine.
– Heat the wine on the hob.
– Peel the pears, and when the wine is simmering, place the pears in the pan.
– Wet a piece of greaseproof paper and scrunch it up. Place the paper over the pears and leave for around an hour or until soft.
– To compile the pavlova, top the meringue with yoghurt.
– Slice the pears and place on top.
– Finally, drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle with the crushed ginger biscuits.