Inspired by last week's Persian Orange Cupcakes I've once more covered my kitchen in a liberal coating of rose petals. This time, however, I've been inspired by that magnificent summer dessert, the pavlova. Of course I was, it being mid winter.
I'm sure you've been stuck with this dilemma, you want a non-traditional wedding (or party of any nature, I'm not limiting myself here), but you want cake. Oh, boy do you want cake. But not some tiered, fondant monstrosity. You want a show stopper that tastes amazing but isn't going to break the bank. And of course you'll make it yourself. As brides do.
Well, what would you say to a decadent, awe-inspiring tiered pavlova? With tart raspberry sauce and a few extras. The recipe is featured right at the end of this post.
For the pavlova
8 free-range egg whites
500g/1lb 2oz caster sugar
4 tsp cornflour
2 tsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
For the sauce
280g frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons sugar
For the Chantilly cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the toppings
Persian fairy floss
Turkish delight, cut into cubes of 1 cm
1 peach, cut into wedges
1 punnet strawberries, hulled and halved
dried rose petals
2 figs, cut into wedges
For the Pavlova
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and draw a rough 25cm/10in diameter circle onto it with a non-toxic pencil.
In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed, then whisk in the sugar, one tablespoonful at a time, until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
Sprinkle the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla bean paste over the egg white, and fold in lightly with a metal spoon.
Spoon the meringue onto the baking parchment within the marked circle which has been buttered and coated in cornflour. Using a spatula, flatten the top and smooth the sides.
Place into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 110C/230F. Cook for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave to cool completely.
Once cool, remove the meringue base from the oven (you can keep the meringue in an airtight container for a couple of days or store in the freezer for up to one month).
For the Sauce
Puree the raspberries in a food processor, blender or immersion blender. Press the puree through a fine-mesh strainer with the back of a spoon, removing the seeds. Heat the puree in a small pot with three tablespoons of sugar, until it is heated through and the sugar is dissolved.
Cool the sauce.
For the Chantilly cream
In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla bean paste together on high speed until soft peaks form in the mixture. Chill any unused Chantilly cream.
When you are ready to assemble the pavlova, invert the cooled meringue disks onto a large plates, and gently peel off the baking parchment. Invert the first meringue disc onto your cake stand. Spread about one third of your Chantilly cream over the top and gently place the second meringue disc on top.
Dollop the rest of the cream onto the centre of your tiered meringue. Layer your fruit on to the cream. Start with the larger fruit. Top with your fairy floss and sprinkle with rose petals, Turkish delight and lavender flowers.
Drizzle with sauce just before serving.
Ps. can you tell I couldn't get enough of this dessert? About one hundred photos later you've reached the end on this post :)