All around the world pantries are being stocked for the festive season, and here in Australia the days are very hot, but thankfully the nights are still mild in the Southern Highlands. The only way to enjoy a white Christmas is to whip up this berry-laden white cloud of a pavlova; spread with light Chantilly cream and drizzled with raspberry syrup. Wishing you all a peaceful – and delicious – holiday.
6 free range egg whites (organic if possible)
330g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
300ml whipping cream
3 level tsp caster sugar
half tsp vanilla extract
125 ml raspberry syrup (from deli or market)
1 punnet blueberries (approx 200 – 250g)
1 punnet raspberries
1 punnet strawberries
Preheat oven to 150C. Using an electric mixer or beaters and a large deep bowl, whisk egg whites until turning fluffy, then slowly add 330g caster sugar, whisking continuously until all sugar is incorporated and dissolved, and mixture is thick and shiny. Whisk in cornflour and vinegar, combining evenly.
Draw a circle 20cm wide (or a heart shape for a romantic touch) on a sheet of baking paper and place it face down on a baking tray. Pile the mixture into the centre and spread within the circle to a uniform height. Create a shallow recess in the centre. Working vertically, draw a round bladed knife or spatula upwards all the way around the edge to create ridges (see photo).
Place in centre of oven, reduce temperature to 100C, then bake for 80 minutes, or until crisp outside but not browned. Turn oven off, leave door slightly ajar, let pavlova cool in oven.
Rinse berries carefully and lay on paper or linen towels to dry.
Whip cream in a deep cold bowl until opaque, add sugar and vanilla and continue whisking until holding its shape well; take care not to overwhip.
Place pavlova on serving dish. Spread with chantilly cream, top with assorted berries. Drizzle with syrup. *Option: toast half a cup of flaked almonds in the oven on 180C for a few minutes until light brown and sprinkle over the syrup. Place extra berries around the base. Dust with icing sugar just before serving. Ideal with a glass of champagne or a raspberry syrup and soda in a tall glass.