Pavlova

I love making a pavlova when we have people over as it looks impressive, despite needing minimal decoration and most of the prep can be done in advance. This is an adaptation of a recipe from a blog called Baked By Clo. It does have quite a long baking time and needs to be left in the oven for a few hours after baking, without being disturbed.

Ingredients

Brine from two tins of chickpeas

188g caster sugar

1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon xantham gum (optional)

300ml double cream, regular or plant-based (I like Elmlea)

Berries and/or fruit to decorate

  1. Start by reducing the chickpea brine by half. I got 320g from two tins and reduced it to 160g. Don’t worry if you over-reduce it, I don’t think it will do much harm. I prefer to use slightly larger quantities rather than over-reducing the liquid accidentally and not having quite enough. It does tend to start to evaporate quickly as you get closer to the amount you need! You can freeze any excess aquafaba for later.
  2. Line the base and sides of an 8 inch springform or loose bottomed tin with baking parchment.

3. Measure out 100g of aquafaba and allow to cool (you can pop it in the freezer briefly). Whisk in a stand mixer until it becomes white and fluffy and solid enough to tip the bowl without the mixture moving. This will take a while so you can switch on your oven to preheat to 110C. Add the cream of tartar, xantham gum (if using) and a quarter of the sugar. Whisk again and before adding the next quarter of the sugar. Repeat until you have added all the sugar and the mixture looks glossy. Add a little pink colouring if you like. A marbled effect can be quite pleasing.

4. Scrape the mixture into the lined tin and spread the mixture across the bottom and up the sides to create a basket, so to speak. If you, try to make the base slightly concave as it will most likely rise in the oven. (I fear I may have used a tin that was a little on the small side here. An 8 inch tin will do the job nicely for these quantities. You can of course increase or decrease the recipe measurements.)

5. Bake for 2 hours at 110C then switch off the oven without opening the door and leave the meringue in there, undisturbed, overnight or for at least 4 hours. Remove carefully from the tin and peel away the baking parchment from the sides. You can carefully remove the paper from the base but don’t worry if you’d rather not risk it – the meringue might be a little crumbly to handle.

6. Shortly before you are ready to serve it, whisk the cream. If using Elmlea, it will take a bit longer to whisk. Scrape the cream into the hollow of the pavlova and spread evenly. Chop some berries and/or fruit of your choice and place on top of the cream. I went for a fairly informal look using strawberries and passionfruit. Some lemon curd might not go amiss either…