150ml (5 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
14g (½ oz) icing/powdered sugar (1½ tbsp)
115g (4 oz) raspberries (1 cup)
large baking sheet/tray lined with baking parchment
Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) gas 1.
Whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, one spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition, until stiff. Add the vanilla and continue whisking until the mixture is thick and glossy.
Using a metal spoon, spoon a third of the meringue into another bowl and sift over 2 teaspoons of the cocoa powder. Gently fold the cocoa into the meringue.
Spoon the cocoa meringue over the white meringue and then, using the metal spoon, fold together once to create a rippled effect.
Put a little dab of meringue on the four corners of the baking sheet/tray and top with the baking parchment. (This will help the lining stay in place.) Spoon the meringue into four mounds on the baking parchment and bake for 1 hour and fifteen minutes, until the meringue is crisp on the outside and peels away easily from the parchment. Cool on a wire rack.
Divide the meringues between four serving dishes. Then whisk the cream and icing sugar together until soft peaks form and spoon over the meringues. Top with the raspberries and then dust with the reserved cocoa powder using a small sieve.
I am indebted to Mary Berry of The Great British Bakeoff for this recipe. It is very light, and the lemon makes it a refreshing end to a holiday meal with family and friends.
This is a lovely dessert that really does taste heavenly and looks very impressive too. The one thing I like about it is that you can prepare a lot in advance. The candied lemon peel can easily be made the day before and the lemon curd a few days before. The meringue is best made on the day you wish to serve it but that takes very little time to prepare. Then all there is to do is to mix the whipped cream into the lemon curd and assemble everything.
2 lemons at room temperature (to add to the 2 reserved from making the candied lemon zest)
225g (8 oz) butter (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
480ml (16 fl oz) double/whipping cream (2 cups)
30 chocolate mini eggs
Piping bag, fitted with a rose nozzle
For the candied lemon zest
(Can be made up to 24 hours ahead)
Peel the zest from two lemons and cut into thin strips. Reserve the lemons for their juice for the lemon curd.
Put the sugar in a pan with 60ml (2 fl oz) (¼ cup) water and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Then add the zest and boil until syrupy, about 2–3 minutes. Drain on parchment paper, then roll in the extra sugar until they are well coated. Leave to dry in a warm place for at least two hours, or over night.
For the meringue
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas mark 3)
Draw a 25cm (10 inch) circle on a sheet of baking parchment. With the drawn side down, place on a baking tray.
Add the egg whites to a bowl and whisk until stiff but before they get to peak stage. Use an electric hand-whisk or a free-standing mixer. Then gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time while still whisking on the maximum speed until the mixture is stiff and shiny, and stands in peaks.
Blend the vinegar and cornflour/cornstarch together in a small bowl until smooth. Gently stir this into the meringue mixture.
Take half of the meringue and spread onto the baking parchment within the lines of the drawn circle. With the remaining half of meringue fill the piping bag and carefully pipe 10 separate nests equally around the edge of the meringue base.
Place on the middle shelf of the oven, turn the heat down to 150°C (300°F) (gas mark 2) and bake for 1½–2 hours. The pavlova will be a pale cream colour and will come off the paper easily when ready. Begin to check after an hour until it has reached this stage. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova in the oven to become cold.
For the lemon curd
(The lemon curd can also be made ahead of time and once cooled can be refrigerated, covered with cling film, until needed. It will keep in a refrigerator for up to seven days.)
Squeeze the juice from all 4 lemons. (4 medium lemons should yield 12 tablespoons (¾ cup))
Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Add the egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice to the bowl and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
Gradually add the butter to the pan, stirring until the butter has melted and combined.
Continue stirring until it the mixture starts to thicken. Patience is needed for this as this stage can take up to 20 minutes before it starts to thicken. It will thicken suddenly, so don’t give up! Remove from the heat and leave to cool. It will thicken further as it cools.
Once the lemon curd has cooled completely, pour the cream into a large bowl and whisk until really thick. Then add it to the lemon curd, gently swirling it through. Spoon a little into each of the nests. Then fill the middle of the pavlova with the remainder (you may not need it all).
Finally, place three chocolate mini-eggs in each of the nests and then sprinkle the candied zest in the middle of the pavlova creating a mound.
*If you can’t find toffees in the confectionary aisle, caramel dessert/sauce topping would be a substitute. You will not need the second quantity of cream.
Small disposable piping bag
Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F/gas mark 1.
To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff. Then gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Sprinkle over the cornflour/cornstarch and vinegar and whisk in.
Place a piece of baking parchment on a large baking sheet and secure by dabbing a little of the meringue mixture in the corners. Use the meringue from the edge of the whisk to do this (a Mary Berry tip).
Spoon four separate large spoonfuls onto the paper and flatten to make circles about 2.5cm/1 inch thick.
Bake for 1¼ hours, until the meringues can be lifted off the paper easily. Leave to cool.
Pour 140ml/5 fl oz/¼ pint of the cream into a small pan and add the toffees. Put the pan over a low heat and, stir occasionally, until the toffees have melted. Leave to cool. (Omit this stage, if using caramel topping)
Break the chocolate into small pieces and place half in a bowl over a pan of just simmering water. When melted, remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the consistency is smooth. Set aside to cool a little.
Whip the cream until it is thick, then gently spread over the meringues.
Slice the bananas and add to the toffee mixture, stirring to coat the bananas. Or, if you are using caramel topping, spoon 6 tablespoons into a small bowl, add the sliced bananas, and stir to coat. Divide the mixture over the cream layer.
Spoon the chocolate into the piping bag and snip off the end to give a small opening. Pipe a zig-zag pattern over the bananas.
They can be chilled for up to one hour. Any longer and the bananas will start to discolour.