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Summer recipe: strawberry Pavlova

PUBLISHED: 10:37 17 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:37 17 July 2018

Strawberry Pavlova by Andy McLeish

Strawberry Pavlova by Andy McLeish

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Andy makes the famous meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova

A Pavlova is the type of dessert you make for a special occasion, there’s something luxurious about it. Perhaps it’s the decadent cream with the soft yet crispy meringue topped with fresh ripe fruit. I can guarantee its dramatic, wispy dome shape will bag you a chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ just by setting it down in front of your guests at a dinner party.

There’s a debate where the Pavlova originated from, some argue it was first created in Australia, while others believe it was New Zealand. My wife is Kiwi – so there is no debate in my household: it’s from New Zealand! Traditionally, in her home country it’s topped with passion fruit (which I love), adding a slightly exoticness to a dessert that’s so familiar.

While the Pavlova tends to be associated as a summer dessert, I think it’s perfect for any occasion, all year round. It fact, serve it at Christmas and just add pomegranate or figs to make it a little more festive.

If you’ve tried making a Pavlova you’ll know it can be a little tricky but with the right recipe, it’s a walk in the park. Plus, it’s one of those few desserts where the presentation doesn’t have to be perfect for it to still look great.

No need to apply the cream in a particular way or arrange the fruit ever so neatly. Even if your meringue cracks, don’t worry, your Pavlova will still look as beautiful as ever.

Are you planning a special party this month? Why not serve my ‘Strawberry Pavlova’. As it’s Wimbledon season, it’s the perfect excuse to use up all those wonderfully, ripe and sweet strawberries.

Strawberry Pavlova

Deliciously indulgent, this is summer on a plate

Ingredients

6 egg whites

12oz sugar

1tsp vinegar

1tsp Vanilla essence

Topping

1 pint of double cream

1 vanilla pod (cut in half lengthways and seeds scraped out)

Fresh strawberries (quartered and gently washed in water)

Icing sugar (for dusting)

Method

It is important to use old eggs as fresh ones do not work so well. I also find it important to have the eggs at room temperature.

Take a clean metal bowl. Mix the egg whites, vanilla and vinegar until it becomes really stiff. Slowly add the sugar - which should take about five minutes, mixing continuously.

Pile the mix onto a baking tray covered with some parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 120ºC. After 20 minutes reduce the heat to 95 degrees and bake for a further 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool away from any draughts. Next, whip the double cream with a pinch of the vanilla seeds. Add a generous amount of strawberries on top, dust with icing sugar and serve.

_________

Cooking with Andy: Andy McLeish is chef-patron of multi-award-winning restaurant Chapter One

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