meringue, strawberry

Strawberry Pavlova


I didn’t get out of bed until past midday today. Slaveboy was unexpectedly late home last night and I stupidly stayed up for him. We are slowly discovering the weekends now, as in the past when I used to be a midwife on call, it made no difference what day of the week it was as I would invariably be on call.

Saturday is relatively laid back for us nowadays, with only Lalla who requires waking up at 5:30am so that she can catch her early morning train to her diving training. Lalla won her first gold medal at an away competition, making it the fourth gold medal she has attained in the five competitions she’s participated in. She now is on Coach Helper training program at her dive centre.

Food-wise, it was catch-up day. I had surplus aubergines and yesterday at Marks & Spencer’s, I picked up several pots of reduced priced ricotta cheese and Parmesan. Naturally, this called for a moussaka to be made as I had some minced lamb in the fridge. I was left with some egg whites from making bechamel sauce and that quickly got used for a pavlova.

Pavlova is one of those witchypoo things that I do. I’ve never struggled with it and no matter how blasé I am, it always turn out ok. I don’t follow a particular recipe but I vaguely recall referring to a Delia Smith recipe when I first started out.

The only thing that I do different is that I don’t leave the meringue base in the switched off oven overnight or for any lengthy period of time. I bake it for the prescribed time, switch the oven off, leave the door open with the meringue base cooling in it. I found that by doing this, it reduces the likelihood of it developing huge cracks although it doesn’t affect or improve the flavour at all.

So this is what I do. I take 4 room temperature egg whites and whisk it with the balloon whisk attachment on the tabletop mixer. I wait until the egg whites become stiff and to it, I gradually add 8oz caster sugar (apologies for not doing this is metrics but this is the only recipe that I have not converted to metrics in my head). Whisk this until the mixture becomes glossy, thick and forms stiff peaks. I don’t add anything else. Not salt, vinegar or cream of tartar.

Spread this mixture on to parchment paper and I bake this in an oven preheated to 150C for around 45 minutes. I normally decide that it’s ready when I see caramelised sugar crystals in the small cracks of the meringue base.

Switch the oven off. Open the oven door and leave the meringue base to cool in the oven.

Once cool, whip up some cream (please don’t overwhip) and top with your chosen fruits.

I find that this way, I end up with a meringue base that has a crisp thin shell, marshmallow-like centre with some chewy slightly toffee-y areas.

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