I don’t think you can beat a pavlova as a pudding; it’s a classic! There is something resplendent about bringing out a pavlova piled high with softly whipped cream that has a crunchy outer, which then yields to a soft chewy centre. It looks quite spectacular and as if you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen for hours, which is quite the opposite.
People seem to have the misconception that pavlova is hard to make, well I promise you it’s not. It is in fact really easy and the actual meringue part can be knocked up in less than 15 minutes.
Pavlova is traditionally adorned with soft fruit, but since they are pretty scarce in Bangalore, I needed to get creative. Salted caramel is very much de rigueur at the moment, and whilst I’ve made caramel sauce on countless occasions, I’ve never attempted a salted caramel one. So, with that in mind and some fudge I needed to use up, I came up with Salted Caramel and Fudge Pavlova: it’s a killer combination that I’m inordinately proud of!
For the meringue base
- 6 egg whites
- 300g of caster sugar
- 2tsp cornflour
- 1½tsp of white wine vinegar
For the salted caramel sauce
- 75g unsalted butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 50g soft light brown sugar
- 100ml double cream
- ½ to 1½tps of fleur de sel, or sea salt flakes
For the topping
- 200g fudge, chopped into small chunks (I use these for pure convenience!)
- 500ml double cream
Serves 8 – 10
To make the meringue base
- Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Whisk the egg whites until they look shiny and peaks form when you remove your whisk. NB. Unless you are Popeye, I highly recommend using an electric hand whisk or standmixer for this. A friend of mine once tried to use their blender to whisk eggs – this won’t really work either.
- One spoonful at a time, add the sugar to the eggs, whilst continuing to whisk. Make sure each spoonful is thoroughly mixed in before adding the next one.
- When all the sugar has been added, continue whisking for 3 – 4 minutes, or until the meringue is thick and glossy. A good test is if you can hold the bowl over your head without any meringue falling on you!
- Whisk in the cornflour and vinegar.
- Using a metal spoon, scoop the mixture onto the baking parchment and use a palette knife to shape it into a fat circle. Smooth around the edges and create a little well in the middle.
- Pop in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 120C/fan100C/gas ½ and cook for around one and a quarter to one and a half hours. To tell if it’s ready, it should look crisp on the outside, but when you prod the centre it should feel squidgy.
- Turn the oven off and open the door slightly and let the meringue completely cool.
- Once the meringue has completely cooled, carefully peel the off the baking parchment and place the meringue on a serving dish. Don’t worry if it cracks, this is par for the course.
- Whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks.
- Fold in half the salted caramel sauce and three-quarters of the fudge pieces.
- Pile the cream on top of the meringue, drizzle the remaining caramel on the cream and sprinkle on the rest of the fudge pieces.
To make the salted caramel sauce
- Melt the caster and soft light brown sugars in a heavy based pan. Don’t stir; simply swirl the sugars around the pan. After about 3 – 5 minutes, the sugars should be a golden liquid caramel, bubbling away.
- Take the pan off the heat and add in the butter. Stir in the butter until it has melted.
- Put it back on the heat and add in the cream and half a teaspoon of the fleur de sel or sea salt flakes – don’t be tempted to use regular table salt, it won’t achieve the taste we’re looking for. Give it a stir with a wooden spoon. Have a little taste to see if it’s salty enough – be careful you don’t burn your tongue! Flavours are much more muted when they are cold remember, so I go for the full allocation of salt.
- Let it bubble gently away for another minute or two.
- Take off the heat and pour into a jug or container until you’re ready to use it.
Domestic Princess tips:
- Make sure the bowl you’re using for the meringue is super clean. Any traces of fat will scupper your attempts at a light, fluffy meringue.
- Egg whites whip up to a greater volume if they start off at room temperature.
- Don’t overwhisk your egg whites as if you do, they will collapse and you’ll have to start again.
- If you’re worried about overwhisking your eggs, add 2 drops of lemon juice to your eggs before you start whisking.
- If you prefer your pavlova to be crunchy the whole way through, omit the cornflour.
- The thicker your meringue is, the more mashmallowy it will be inside. If you prefer a chewier consistency, then spread it out thinner on the baking parchment.
- Make sure you leave the pavlova to cool down in the switched-off oven. Don’t expose the pavlova to cold air, until it is completely cool, as it will probably sink.
- A good rule of thumb when making meringues, is to calculate 50g of sugar for every egg white. If you follow this, you won’t go far wrong.
- You can make the meringue and the salted caramel sauce the day before you want to serve it. Keep the meringue in an airtight container until you’re ready to add the topping, just before serving. The salted caramel will keep in the fridge for 7 to 10 days and can be frozen too.
- If you can’t get your hands on shop bought fudge, this is a great recipe for making it yourself.
I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering now – I might have to make this again tomorrow!
Do you love pavlova? Are meringues your cooking nemesis, or do you find them easy to make?
With much love
The Domestic Princess