Pavlova

Pavlova has become a family favourite and is naturally gluten-free. We like the meringue to be crunchy on the outside and slightly marshmallow-like on the inside. Served with cream and fresh fruit - delicious!


There's something exciting and strangely therapeutic about watching meringue rise in the oven, but I'm always slightly nervous about pavlova until it is safely on the plate. I once made the mistake of trying to transport pavlova on a bumpy car journey - only to end up with meringue in many pieces. Never mind - it still ended up as a very tasty dessert - Eton mess (crushed meringue, double cream and fruit) but didn't quite have the wow factor it deserved! I now make sure I bake my pavlova on baking parchment not greaseproof paper and always err on the side of caution and cook it for slightly longer rather than not quite long enough!

Gluten-Free Pavlova

Pavlova with double cream and summer berries

Ingredients

To make a large pavlova (to feed at least 8 comfortably)

For the meringue:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 280g (10oz) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

For the topping

  • 280ml/½pt double cream, lightly whipped
  • fresh fruit of your choice (pictured above 400g strawberries, 150g raspberries, 150g blueberries)
  • single cream to serve

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 110°C/100°C fan/225°F/gas mark ¼.
  • In a large bowl (or mixer) whisk the egg whites (see note below) until stiff, but not dry, peaks have formed.
  • Gently fold/whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time.
  • In a mug mix together the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla essence. You can omit this stage if cooking for someone who is corn intolerant.
  • Fold into the egg mixture.
  • Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet and spread to form a circle about 25cm in diameter.
  • Bake in the oven for 70 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave to cool in the overnight for about 2 hours or overnight.
  • To serve gently peel from the baking parchment and put on a serving plate.
  • Cover with whipped double cream and fresh fruit.
  • Serve with single cream.
  • It is best if the eggs are at room temperature so take them out of the fridge for around half an hour before using.
  • Strawberries always work well with this dessert, but I also like a mixture of strawberry, fresh pineapple and tinned mango. I know I should use fresh mango, but somehow the syrupy taste of the mangos work really well with this.
  • If you are feeling chocolatey then you can make chocolate pavlova. Simply add in 20g sieved cocoa powder when stirring in the sugar. Serve with a chocolate cream (melted chocolate c.75-100g mixed with whipped double cream) and fresh fruit. Raspberries work particularly well.
  • If you have an adventurous side you can make a larger and smaller circle and then make a two tier pavlova - very artistic!
  • To help me make the pavlova the correct size, I usually draw around a plate on the baking parchment with a thick pen - then turn it over so I can see the pen line but not put the mixture onto the pen!
  • To stop your baking parchment slipping, it is a good idea to put a small dollop of the mixture under each corner of the baking parchment to secure it to your tin.
  • I remember the quantities for pavlova by knowing that you simply double the amount of sugar to the number of eggs - this only works if you are thinking in ounces though!