Gold-dusted mixed berry pavlova
For the pavlova
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 160g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp freeze-dried raspberries (optional)
- 1 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
- Handful of raspberries
- 2-3 figs, halved
- 150g redcurrants
- 1 passion fruit, seeds and pulp
- 1/2 pomegranate, seeds
- Basil leaves
- Gold glitter dust (from the cake decorating section of the supermarket)
For the spiced crème fraîche
- 500g crème fraîche
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom seeds
- 1 orange, zest of all, juice of half
This mixed berry pavlova is a light, refreshing, yet decadent-tasting dessert to round off a heavy meal – especially at Christmas time. Piled high with plump figs, dusted with edible gold glitter and jewelled with pomegranate seeds and redcurrants, it’s a show-stopping dessert that looks truly festive.
- Preheat the oven to 140°C/285°F/gas mark 1. Thoroughly clean and dry the bowl of your stand mixer, as egg whites will not whip if there is a trace of grease. You can give the inside a wipe with the cut face of a lemon and dry it with kitchen paper to be sure.
- Start by slowly whisking the egg whites until they start to fluff up, then gradually increase the speed to maximum. Whisk for five more minutes then add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time. When you’ve used all the sugar, keep whisking for another five minutes until the whites are stiff and shiny, and when you spread it around it keeps its shape.
- Gently fold in the dried raspberries, if using, and fold in the balsamic to give a ripple-like effect. The vinegar will give the meringue a soft, chewy centre.
- Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and spread the whites into a large circle, about 20cm round. Make sure to give it hills and valleys as you go; places for the berries and cream to tumble and hide.
- Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, ten turn the oven off and leave to cool completely inside, with the door open just a crack. If you can’t do this, just take it out and cool on the worktop.
- Make the crème fraîche by stirring in the spices, orange zest and juice, then whisking gently. Cover and keep in the fridge until needed.
- Transfer the meringue to a serving dish and top with the crème fraîche, berries, basil leaves, a good dusting of icing sugar and gold glitter dust. use whatever berries you can.