This dessert was created for Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballet dancer (pictured). It is my absolute favourite and always goes down well with family and friends; there are never any leftovers! It is deceptively easy to make and looks amazing. You can add finely ground hazelnuts or swap the vanilla for an alternative flavouring to create a different taste. I think it works best with fresh raspberries as a topping because their tartness sets off the sweetness of the meringue. The result should be a crisp and slightly chewy shell with a soft mallow centre. Excellent after a spicy curry dish!
3 free range egg whites
175g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla flavouring
½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 level teaspoon cornflour
300ml double cream or crème fraiche
350g fresh raspberries or other fresh fruit
How to Cook
- Draw a circle around a tea plate (about 18cm) on a sheet of baking paper. Dab a bit of butter or oil on each corner and place face down on a baking tray.
- Whisk the egg whites until very stiff – you should be able to hold the bowl upside-down and the mixture stays put (testing this over someone’s head is a great party trick).
- Whisk in half the sugar, then, using a metal spoon, fold in the rest of the sugar, vanilla flavouring vinegar and cornflour until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Spread the meringue over the circle – it will spread a little so build up, rather than go over the edges of your circle too much. That way you will ensure you get the soft marshmallow middle and not a flat meringue crisp!
- Bake in the oven at 150°C (300°F) or gas mark 2 for about an hour. The top should be pale gold and crisp. Take it out of the oven and leave to cool. Turn the meringue over and remove the baking paper when it has cooled slightly so that it doesn’t stick. It will crack, but don’t worry about this as the cream will cover it all up.
- Whisk the cream until stiff and spread it over the top of the meringue, then top with the raspberries.
Serves 6 (in theory)