I was inspired by The Great British Bake Off to expand my baking repertoire into new techniques I’ve never attempted before. As I’d never made meringues but I’ve yet to see a Bake Off series that doesn’t feature them in some way, I made this summer berry pavlova dessert to see whether it was something I could master. The result was a very striking and exciting looking dessert, which tasted amazing, and (better yet) was pretty simple to make.
My summer berry pavlova was actually just a meringue base topped with freshly whipped cream, a selection of summer berries and a dusting of icing sugar. It’s extremely delicious (if not a little sweet) and I think it’s actually a great showcase dessert for a dinner party as it’s fairly easy to make. The meringue can be done in advance and the toppings added at the last minute, and I thought it looked deceptively impressive!
I’ve also made a a variation of this dessert as mini pavlovas, which were perfect as part of an afternoon tea selection.
Tips for Making Meringues:
The meringues were the only tricky thing to master in this dessert, so I did a bit of reading around in various books and online sources to try and identify the major pitfalls:
- The ratio you need is 2oz caster sugar for every egg white.
- You’ll need to whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks and then add sugar gradually whilst whisking. You end up with a glossy white mixture in the end.
- You need to avoid getting any egg yolk mixed in with the whites. Apparently it’s a good idea to split the eggs when cold from the fridge, but allow to reach room temperature (takes about 30 minutes) before whisking. Also I read a lot of advice suggesting using a metal or glass bowl.
- Try not to to take breaks in the middle of the whisking process or your whites might not form the stiff peaks you are aiming for.
How to Make Summer Berry Pavlova
- 4 large egg whites
- 225g caster sugar
- 400ml double cream (whipped)
- A selection of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
- Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks and then add sugar gradually whilst whisking, until you get a glossy mixture.
- Spread or pipe the meringue mixture onto a lined baking tray into your chosen shape, and pipe decoration around the edges if you like!
- Bake the meringue base on a low temperature (130°C) for 75 minutes and then leave it in the oven to cool for several hours to fully dry out.
- Just before you are ready to serve, add the cream and berry toppings. Don’t do this too early otherwise your meringue will go slightly soggy!
- Dust with icing sugar to finish.
This fresh summer pavlova looked and tasted fantastic! My finished meringue was crunchy on the outside and chewy and marshmallow-y on the inside, which is as meringue should be, and the pairing with the fresh fruits was perfect for a summer’s day.
Why Not Try?…
Pipe your meringue mixture into small disks to make the bases for a selection of mini summer berry pavlovas! They are great as part of an afternoon tea selection.