Winter pavlova crown
We’ve given the party favourite pavlova a magnificent wintery makeover by creating a glorious, high-side, snowy stage for all the glistening seasonal fruits we love to enjoy this time of year – figs, clementines, and red currants and more. Serene and crisp on the outside yet fragile and soft inside, the trick to achieving this showstopping meringue is to slightly over whisk those egg whites to sculpture like peaks. Top tip – make sure you weigh those egg whites, it’s the craft to a great meringue.
Preheat the oven to 150ºC/130ºC (fan.)
Place the egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on medium until they form soft peaks.
Then lower the speed and start to slowly add your sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to be mixed in and dissolved before adding the next one.
Once all the sugar has been added, turn up the speed to medium again and allow this to continue whisking for 15 minutes. After this time, the meringue should be shiny and stiff and if you rub a little of the mixture between your finger and thumb, then it shouldn’t feel grainy – this means all the sugar has been dissolved.
Mix the vinegar and cream of tartar together in a small bowl and then tip into the meringue and beat in again.
Get a large baking tray and line it with baking paper, use a small spot of the meringue mixture in each corner to stick the paper to the tray. Then pile on the rest of your meringue and shape it. You can do any shape you like; we made ours gloriously tall by dragging the back of a palette knife upwards to create a ridged crown effect. Make sure to leave a well in the middle for the cream and fruit.
Place the meringue into the preheated oven and allow it to cook for 10 minutes before lowering it to 120ºC/100ºC (fan) and bake for a further 1hr 20 minutes. After the cook time is complete, avoid opening the oven and instead turn the oven off and allow the meringue to cool in there for at least 1 hour – you can leave this longer, overnight is the best method.
While the meringue is cooking you can make the cranberry coulis. Place the cranberries, sugar and water into a pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes, letting the cranberries pop and break down and the mixture to become thick and jammy.
Allow the mixture to cool slightly (it will continue to thicken in this time), and then pass it through a fine sieve into a clean bowl, pushing the cranberries to get the most through. You can adjust the thickness of the coulis if it needs letting down slightly by adding a splash of water. Set aside until later.
When the pavlova is ready to serve place the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla bean paste in the bowl of the stand mixer and gently whisk making sure not to over whisk. You want soft peaks that just hold their shape but fall off the spoon easily.
Place the cooled meringue onto your serving platter or stand. Carefully spoon in the soft cream, and the drizzle over the cranberry coulis. Top with the fresh fruit and scatter over the pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachios.
For the meringue
130g Old Cotswold Legbar egg whites
220g caster sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
5g cream of tartar
For the topping
150g fresh or frozen cranberries
100g caster sugar
600ml double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 large orange, peeled and segmented
50g pomegranate seeds
5 fresh figs, halved or quartered
50g pistachios, finely chopped
100g fresh redcurrants, optional