Strawberry and Cream Pavlova Crown

This seasonal strawberry sharing dessert is a real crowd pleaser: perfect for summer parties & BBQs.

I made this meringue as part of a Wimbledon themed baking challenge on Twitter as to me, nothing says Wimbledon quite like strawberries, cream and champagne. I would describe this dessert as pavlova meets eton mess: the shape makes it lighter and easier to serve than a traditional pavlova which I find can often be quite heavy for a summer dessert and the attention to detail makes it a neater looking eton mess.

Serves: 8-10 depending on your portion sizes
Prep and assembly time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour and 20 minutes, plus a minimum of 4 hours cooling time

Utensils/Equipment
Large baking tray
Greaseproof paper
Hand blender/food processor
Large mixing bowl
Electric whisk or stand mixer
Medium mixing bowl
Two small mixing bowls

Ingredients – for the meringue
4 medium egg whites (reserve the yolks for lemon curd)
125g granulated sugar
100g caster sugar

Ingredients – for the cream topping
300ml double cream
4 tablespoon icing sugar
Drizzle of vanilla bean paste

Ingredients – for the strawberry sauce
Half a punnet fresh strawberries, hulled
Juice of one orange
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Ingredients – for the champagne strawberries (optional)
150ml champagne
8 strawberries

Method


1. Pre-heat your oven to 100 degrees fan assisted.


2. Place your greaseproof paper onto your baking tray and trace a circle around a large plate or cake tin, it should be approximately 22cm in diameter. Draw a smaller circle inside the large circle, approximately 17cm in diameter.

3. Separate your eggs and place 4 whites into a large spotlessly clean mixing bowl. It is imperative your mixing bowl is perfectly clean to ensure your meringue comes out properly, if you’re in any doubt cut a lemon and wipe the inside of the bowl with it.

4. Using your electric whisk or stand mixer whisk your egg whites until they form stiff peaks, depending on your mixer this should take around 5 minutes to achieve but may take slightly longer.

5. Put your granulated sugar into a hand blender or food processor and blitz quickly until it is almost a fine powder. This is optional and you could just use 225g caster sugar but I prefer the mix of finely blitzed granulated sugar and caster sugar as I find I get a softer, glossier meringue.

6. Mix your two sugars together and add, one tablespoon at a time, to your whisked eggs. Whisking the whole time to incorporate the sugar. Once you have incorporated all of your sugar your meringue should be thick and glossy, standing in tall stiff peaks.

7. Spoon your meringue out onto your baking tray, keeping it within the two circles you’ve drawn. Try to keep this as neat as possible. I like to make sure I have my inner circle line perfectly filled before I push the meringue out the outer line and start to build it higher. Use the back of your spoon to add gentle peaks to the shape to give the crown effect.

8. Bake your meringue for 1 hour and 20 minutes without opening the door. Leave in the oven to cool for 15 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely. Some people leave their meringues to cool in the oven overnight without even opening the door but I find every time I do this my meringue cracks so I get it out quite quickly and never face this issue.

9. Whilst your meringue is cooling place your double cream, icing sugar and vanilla bean paste into a medium bowl and whisk until thick. Cover and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble.

10. Chop your half punnet of strawberries and add to a small bowl with the orange juice, icing sugar and vanilla bean paste and mash with a fork until you have something resembling a sauce or drizzle. Cover and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble.

11. The champagne strawberries are optional: if you wish to soak them in champagne then gently prick them with a sharp knife and place into a small bowl with the champagne and leave to sit for a few hours. If you don’t want to soak your strawberries then gently slice a few to decorate the meringue top with.

12. To assemble your meringue remove it from the tray and place on a serving plate. Spoon your chilled cream onto the top, making sure you cover the top layer of the meringue. Spoon over the strawberry sauce, don’t worry if it runs down the sides it should look homemade. Top with your fresh whole and chopped strawberries before serving.

13. Serve immediately and keep in the fridge between portions, if you don’t get through it in one go! The meringue can be made up to two days ahead and stored in an airtight container. Once assembled the meringue should be eaten within 24 hours.

Your meringue should be glossy, thick and form stiff peaks.

Spread your meringue out on a baking tray, shape the top for texture and ease of decorating.

Try not to eat the cream out of the bowl and save it for when you’re assembling the meringue….

Nothing says summer like fresh English grown strawberries.

Save time by making your meringue a few days before you need it – don’t worry if it leaks sugar or cracks slightly (I left this one to cool in the oven overnight), it won’t do any harm.

Top with cream, strawberries and get stuck in! Somebody pass me a fork!

Victoria

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