British Strawberries are particularly good this summer because we had a dryer spring than usual, so I thought I recreate this simple recipe of mine that was published in my Sunday newspaper column. This well-known dessert gets its name a Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured New Zealand and Australia in 1926 as part of her world tour. As is often the case in defining a recipe’s history you find claim and counter claim about where and who invented this dessert……..some say Australia and some say New Zealand, but I’m persuaded by the fact that the first know recipe for this dessert was published in a rural magazine called The New Zealand Dairy Annual in 1929. Historically, the name has been used to describe three distinct desserts: a four-layered jelly cake (the first to bear the name which did come from Australia and which is no longer baked); a coffee flavoured meringue; and the pavlova as understood today, a fluffy meringue that is crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.
Ingrediants (makes 4)
100g (4oz) Caster sugar
2 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
½ tsp White wine vinegar
125g (5oz) Mascarpone cheese
Juice and zest of 2 medium sized lemons
1 tsp Caster sugar
300g (12oz) Strawberries
1 Tbsp Strawberry jam
- Preheat oven to gas mark 2 (300 F/150 C) and lightly grease a large baking tray.
- In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form then add the salt.
- Gradually whisk in the sugar a little at a time and keep whisking the meringue until it is stiff and glossy.
- Now mix in the cornflour and the vinegar and whisk for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Tear a piece of baking parchment the same size as the baking tray. Use a pencil and draw four three-inch circles onto the parchment. Lay the parchment pencil side down onto the greased baking tray and smooth it down.
- With a large kitchen spoon fill the four circles with the whipped meringue using the circles as a guideline.
- Once your happy with the shape of the meringues make a slight dent in the centre of each one.
Bake on the middle shelf for 45 minutes then turn down the oven to gas mark 1 (275 F/135C) and bake for a further 15 minutes then remove from the oven.
- Whilst the meringues bake, combine the lemon zest and juice with the teaspoon of sugar in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a simmer, allow the volume to reduce by half (until it begins to be syrupy) then cool in the fridge.
- When the lemon mix is cool stir the mascarpone in gradually.
- Reserve 3 strawberries for the top of each pavlova and chop the rest up and mix with the strawberry jam.
Top each pavlova with a good dollop of mascarpone mix, make a little indent in to the mascarpone and the carefully fill with the strawberry mix. Decorate with the reserved strawberries and enjoy.
Don’t fill the meringues up until the last minute or they will get soggy. I happened to have some almond praline leftover so I sprinkled it onto eack plate to add contrast.
Individual Strawberry Pavlovas © Kevin Ashton 2006