VANILLA SNOW PAVLOVA RECIPE

Dreaming of a white Christmas?

A huge, billowy, soft-centred meringue piled with cream and berries is a Christmas tradition that’s as important as it is delicious. And once you’ve nailed the perfect meringue, the reward-to-effort ratio of this make-ahead dessert can’t be topped; simply whip some cream, scoop some ice cream and scatter with in-season fruit for a customisable dessert your friends and family will never pass up.

Ingredients

Meringue
8 x large egg whites, at room temperature
good pinch of salt
2 cups (400g) caster sugar
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp boiling water (optional*)

Topping
500ml thickened (or pouring) cream
⅓ cup (60g) caster sugar
2 punnets fresh berries, or a combination of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and pomegranate seeds.
icing sugar to dust

Method
Preheat the oven to 120C (100C fan forced). Line the base of a 23cm springform pan or line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Place the egg whites and salt in to the mixing bowl, attach the wire whisk and pouring shield. Whisk on speed 2 until soft peaks are formed.

Add the sugar in one go and turn to speed 6 until the sugar is combined then increase to speed 10 and mix for 10 – 12 minutes or until the meringue is very thick, creamy and glossy. Scrape down the sides of bowl regularly with a spatula.

Add the vanilla, cornflour, vinegar and boiling water (if using). Mix on speed 1 until just combined. Do not over mix.

Pour and spread the mixture into the lined springform pan pushing it up the sides and slightly dipping in the centre or you can dollop and spread the mixture onto a lined baking sheet.

Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes or until the shell is firm and dry. Turn oven off and allow the meringue to cool completely with the oven door slightly ajar.

For the topping:
Place the cream and caster sugar in a clean mixing bowl. Attach the wire whisk and beat on speed 6 for 2-3 minutes or until soft peaks form. Spread cooled meringue shell with cream and generously pile the berries on top. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Notes & Tips:
Recipe can be halved for a smaller version if desired.
The boiling water adds a wonderful lightness to the shell. Add the water to the side of the bowl.
Beating the eggs whites on a lower speed at the start of the method produces a very strong meringue – be patient.
For a change, try sprinkling with ground cinnamon and a little sugar combined to serve.
The meringue will keep, without the topping, (in a sealed container) for 1-2 days.

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