We might not all be American, but we all see the value in whipping up a fancy dessert to celebrate their independence today. We’ve gone with a lush pavlova, and decorated with blueberries and strawberries – or cranberries if you like the tartness – to go with the theme. And if you’re not that heavily into July 4, add some mint for camouflage.
Lots of people struggle to make meringue, but if you follow a few simple rules you won’t go wrong. Yes, it may seem overly fussy to break your eggs into a cup first, but if you get even a smidgen of yolk in the whites you’ll have a disaster.
Make sure your equipment is perfectly clean and dry: any grease, and you could be in for a flop. To be extra sure, you can cut a fresh lemon and rub it over the whisk and bowl.
When you make a meringue, the egg whites need to be at room temperature. But it is easier to separate cold eggs, so chill them, then separate the whites from the yolks, then let the whites come to room temperature before you start.
While the pavlova in the picture has two layers, it will be just as good with one layer if you mould it properly.
Prepare your equipment
1 Take your baking tray, a piece of parchment or baking paper to fit the tray, and the plate you will use to serve the pavlova.
2 Using the serving plate as a template, draw the outline on the parchment. Or, if you want smaller, individual meringues, draw a few circles using a glass, cup, mug or anything else that’s handy.
If you wish to get even more creative you can draw whatever fancy shape you like to serve as your guide.
3 Using a little butter or oil, grease the baking tray slightly to stick the parchment in place. Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards to get rid of any grease.
4 Turn the parchment over and place it on the baking tray, with the pencil side down.
5 Rub your equipment with the cut side of a lemon.
1 lemon, cut
4 large eggs
1 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon juice from the lemon
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries
1 1/4 cup raspberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup double cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 The meringue will take the longest so start there. Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius before you start.
2 Separate the eggs, using a cup. After each white is cleanly separate, pour it into your mixing bowl. Add the salt.
3 Using a balloon whisk (you can do this by hand but machine is better) whip the egg whites until they begin to stiffen.
4 Add 1/4 cup of caster sugar and whisk for 5 minutes. Add another 1/4 cup and whip for five more minutes. Repeat until all the sugar is used up. Your meringue should be firm and glossy; you can test this by holding the bowl upside down and checking that it doesn’t fall out.
5 Sift the cornstarch into the meringue and fold in gently.
6 Add the lemon juice and vanilla, and fold them in gently.
7 Carefully spoon the meringue on to the parchment, following your template. If you are only making one layer, use the back of a spoon to create a raised edge to hold the cream and berries in place later.
8 Turn off the oven. Place the meringue into the oven, and leave the door slightly open, using a rolled up towel or wooden spoon to stop it closing.
9 You can leave the meringue in the oven for hours – even overnight – but you can remove it after 3 hours.
1 Blitz the raspberries and sugar in a blender. Sieve to remove the seeds.
2 Heat the mixture in a pot until all the sugar is dissolved. Allow it to boil for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat and leave to cool thoroughly.
Just before serving
1 Put the meringue on the serving plate.
2 Wash the berries, and hull the strawberries.
3 Whip the cream and sugar and fill the top of the meringue.
4 Decorate the top with the berries, then pour the cold sauce over the berries, making sure some of it dribbles down the sides of the pavlova and onto the plate.
Try it yourself! Shoot a pic, post it to IG and tag us at @youngposthk