Although I profess not to be a girlie woman (working from home I can usually be found sans makeup, sans brushed hair, sans jewellery, dressed in jeans, fleece and slippers), I am quite girlie when it comes to baking. Give me some pretty food colourings and edible glitter and I am as happy as happy can be.
Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of meringue, it is also my Mother’s favourite pudding, so I have had considerable practice in making them over the years.
This pavlova can be made in advance, and is perfect for a romantic supper at home this Valentine’s day. If you want to make individual ones then just reduce the cooking time a little, but I think it is more fun to share?
A few hints for successful meringue making
- Do not use ultra fresh eggs – the meringue is more likely to flop
- A speck of grease or yolk will stop the egg whites whisking, make sure your equipment is spotless and take care when separating the eggs
- Add half a spoon of sugar when you start whisking the whites
- Egg whites freeze well
- Although some recipes call for the addition of cornflour and vinegar I find it makes no difference.
- Cook them last thing at night, and leave to cool in the oven
I far prefer gel food colouring to liquid, it gives a deeper colour and does not change the texture, if you use liquid colour then add a little more sugar. Use a cocktail stick to add the colour to the meringue, a little goes a long long way.
Snip the corner off a thick sandwich bag if you do not have a piping bag.
Recipe: Valentine’s Day Pavlova
2 egg whites
90 – 100g caster sugar – 1.5x the weight of the egg whites
few drops pink gel food colouring
100ml double cream
(1 tbs 0% Greek yoghurt – I use Total)
Whisk the egg white with 1/2 tsp of the sugar either in a stand mixer, or with a hand held electric whisk until white and frothy. Add the sugar gradually whisking all the time until the meringue stands in soft peaks. Add a dab of food colouring, and whisk to check the colour, you want the mix to be a shade darker than you want your finished meringue.
Using a large round tip fill a piping bag with the meringue.
Print out my Fuss Free Flavours Heart Stencil, and place onto a baking tray, under a sheet of baking parchment, and pipe out meringue to fill it, then pipe a raise edge. This should use about 2/3 of the mix. Alternatively make the shape using a spoon and clean fingers! The remaining 1/3 of the mix should make 4 meringue shells.
Sprinkle with some edible glitter and place in an oven pre heated to GM2 / 300F / 150C, immediately turn the oven down to GM1 / 275F / 140C. Cook for about 30 – 40 mins. When the pavlova is hard and sounds hollow when lightly tapped then turn the oven off and allow to cool inside the oven.
Fill with whipped cream (I like to add a little yoghurt to cut through the sweetness of the meringue) and decorate with fresh berries.
The unfilled pavlova and meringues will keep for a week or so in an airtight tin.