1. Set the oven to 135 degrees. Line two square baking sheets and draw 6 circles of around 8cm diameter on each using a pencil.

2. Put the egg whites and vinegar in a large, clean bowl and whisk well until stiff peaks form (about 2 minutes).

Top tip: You can make sure the bowl is really clean by rubbing a slice of lemon around the bowl before you use it, and wiping dry with a piece of kitchen towel.

3. Pour in the sugar and cornflour mix little by little, whisking well after each addition. Increase the speed of the whisk once it has all be tipped in and whisk for 4 minutes or so, until the mixture is smooth and glossy (when rubbed between your fingers it should feel completely smooth, not granular at all).

Don't be afraid that you are whisking for a long time here, it's important that the sugar is fully incorporated to make for a stable meringue.

4. Spoon the piping mix into a piping bag with a star tip nozzle. Pipe the meringues into the already drawn out circles, using one baking sheet as the 'bottoms' (so don't pipe to a peak) and the other as the tops (making them as pretty as possible).

5. Bake in the oven at 135 degrees for 25 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 120 degrees for the final 10-15 minutes, before turning the oven off completely and leaving the meringues to dry out.

6. For the chocolate sauce, place the water and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to the boil to make a syrup. Reduce the heat to a simmer and place the chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over the pan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Take the pan off the heat, pour the syrup mixture into the chocolate and stir until smooth and well combined. You may want to add a little more boiling water to thin the sauce out.

7. Whip up the cream until thick and unctuous, cut up the fruit into any shape you wish.

8. Sandwich the meringues together using the cream and fresh fruit, then drizzle the hot chocolate sauce on top, leaving the remainder on the table for guests to serve themselves.

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Perfect Pavlovas

SERVES:

6 double decker meringues (you could serve 12 single deckers instead)

For the meringues: 


6 egg whites 


1 tsp white wine vinegar 


1 1/2 cups caster sugar 


1 tbsp cornflour 


To decorate:


600ml double cream


1 mango


2 passion fruit 


150g raspberries

For the chocolate sauce: 


90g dark chocolate 


25g caster sugar


50ml boiling water 

Meringues are always best cooked the day before and left in the oven overnight to dry out. They store well in an airtight container for at least 3 days so they are an excellent prepare ahead dessert. Don't put the cream or fruit on until you are ready to serve them.

You can find the recipe on my YouTube here: https://youtu.be/bI197tHf3eg

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Perfect Pavlovas