Pavlova is to Australians what a Cream Tea is to the Cornish so what better way to celebrate Australia Day than a tasty pavlova topped with lots of seasonal fruits?!
At home in Cornwall I’d use Cornish Clotted Cream for this recipe but I’ll unfortunately have to make do with the thickest double cream I could find in Sydney, whipped up so it’s even thicker!
In Australia, summer fruits and wonderful figs are in season so that’s what I’ve chosen to top my pavlova. Just about any fruit will work, so go nuts with your favourites!
One point to note is that you’ll need a bit of time for this one to allow the meringue to cool completely. Less time to actually prepare your pavlova though so what I like to do is make the meringue the night before, then assemble the cream and fruit on the day.
Here’s how to make The Cornish Cook’s Australia Day Pavlova.
You will need:
The Whites of 6 Large Eggs | 350g Caster Sugar | 200g Clotted Cream (or 200ml extra thick double cream) | 200g Mixed Fresh Fruit | Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract | Optional 200g raspberries, 25g icing sugar and 1 tsp lemon juice for the raspberry coulis | Optional 25g dark or milk chocolate for the meringue
Pre-heat your oven to 150 degrees c. Whisk your egg whites on a slow speed until they get a bit frothy. This will take about 3-4 mins. Then turn up the speed of your whisk to medium for another minute or two before whacking your whisk up to its highest speed. Whisk on high until the egg whites form stiff peaks. It’s important to not over-whisk your egg whites so as soon as your peaks stay put when you remove the whisk, stop. Feel free to do the bowl above your head test but do so at your own risk…
Now you can start to add your sugar to the egg whites. Whisk in sugar about a tablespoon at a time until you have a lovely glossy meringue mixture. On a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking paper, spoon about a third of your meringue into the centre of the tray. Spread out into a big circle leaving a little gap at the edge of the tray just in case! Then spoon the rest of the mixture in big blobs and swirl it around a bit. You don’t want any spikes on the top since these are likely to catch in the oven. If you get any spikes, push them down softly with a wet finger. A simple and stylish variation is to marble some melted chocolate into your meringue mix.
Once you’re happy with your meringue shape, put it in the oven and turn the temperature down to 140 degrees c immediately. The reason I do this, is so that the outside gets nice and crisp while the inside remains deliciously chewy as any good meringue should! Cook your meringue for 1 hour until lightly golden then turn your oven off and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven. Leaving the meringue in the oven allows it to dry out as it cools. Once completely cold, transfer your meringue onto your serving plate.
If you’re using Clotted Cream, gently stir in the vanilla extract before spreading onto your cold meringue. If you aren’t lucky enough to have clotted cream available to you (like me), gently whip some double cream with the vanilla extract and spread onto your meringue. Add your fruit to the top in whichever pattern you like. I like to display my fruit pretty randomly and my favourite fruits to display are red-currents on their stalks. Unfortunately these don’t really get a season in Australia from what I gather so I’ve opted for delicious raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, figs and cherries. I’ve kept the skins on the figs and the stalks on the strawberries and cherries for design but feel free to take these of for easy eating purposes!
If you have the time, why not make a quick raspberry coulis for a little more sharpness to cut through all that sugar in the meringue? To make this, heat the additional raspberries and icing sugar in a saucepan with a teaspoon of lemon juice until the sugar has completely dissolved and your raspberries have fallen apart to a runny sauce. Push the raspberry sauce through a fine sieve and then drizzle over your pavlova.