The combination of crunchy meringue, soft whipped cream and scrummy berries make this summer berry pavlova is seriously hard to resist. A pavlova is a spectacular centrepiece making it perfect for entertaining. Whether you use a mixture of different berries or stick to just one or two of your favourites, it always has that "wow" factor.
Fruit from the allotment
As a result of all the soft fruits on the allotment being ready for the picking, a lot of my recent recipes have a sweet bias, and this one is no exception. Although I promise to redress the balance soon with some more savoury recipes made easy, it would be a shame shame to let the berries go unused. It's amazing what a patch of just 3 x 4m can produce: last week the raspberry bushes were just beginning to produce more than just the odd one here and there; an early blackberry was just beginning to fruit; there were still a few red and white currants left on the bushes; and the last of the strawberries were ripe. While picking them I considered how to show them off and, after some thought, I settled on a summer berry pavlova.
Keen readers may notice that the backdrop of the pictures looks different this time. That's because we took the harvest with us when we visited a friend for the weekend and made the pavlova there. The main pictures were taken in her garden and if you look closely you may even be able to spot a few redcurrant hanging on the bushes behind the table.
Step by step summer berry pavlova
Summer Berry Pavlova
For the meringue
- 4 egg whites
- 250 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp cornflour
For the coulis
- 225 g raspberry
- handful redcurrant optional
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 500 g mixed summer berries
- 450 ml double cream
To make the meringue
- Preheat the oven to 150℃ /130℃ fan/gas mark 2. Draw a large circle on a sheet of non stick baking parchment using a dinner plate as a guide. Turn the paper upside down (make sure the circle is dark enough to show through the parchment) and place on a baking sheet.
- Whisk the egg whites until standing in stiff peaks, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar a spoonful at a time until all the sugar has been added and you have a stiff glossy meringue.
- Sprinkle the vinegar and cornflour on top and whisk in.
- Spoon the mixture onto the centre of the parchment and spread out using the drawn circle as a guide. Make a dip in the centre and swirl the meringue in a mound around the edge of the circle.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and allow to cool completely in the oven without opening the door.
To make the coulis
- Push the raspberries and redcurrant if using through a sieve into a bowl and discard the seeds. Stir in the caster sugar and set aside.
- Hull the fruit if required. Cut larger strawberries into quarters or halves. Set aside some fruit to decorate. Toss the remaining fruit in a little coulis.
- Spoon the coated berries into the centre of the pavlova. Whip the cream until standing in soft peaks and spread over the berries.
- Arrange the remaining fruit on top. Serve the remaining coulis, drizzled over the top of the pavlova or separately.
Hints, tips and variations
- I've used a selection of berries because that is what I had available, but you could stick to just one or two.
- I make my coulis with raspberries as they are soft enough to easily push through a sieve. A handful of redcurrant added to the raspberries add an extra flavour dimension.
- If you make the coulis from strawberries instead, you will find it easier to blitz them first.
- This is a dessert for a special occasion so I like to use all cream, lightly whipped until it just holds its shape. For a slightly lighter cream topping, substitute some of the cream with natural yogurt. Whip the cream until standing in soft peaks then gently fold in the yogurt.
- The meringue can be made a few days ahead of time if stored in an airtight container.
- The coulis can be made the day before and kept in the refrigerator.
- For the best results assemble the pavlova just before serving.
- Serve the coulis spooned over the pavlova or in a seperate jug on the side