This mallowy meringue cake, topped with cream and fruit, is such a crowd-pleaser. It’s also great to serve at any time of year, as you can match the fruits to the season. The idea of this flouncy crust and billowing cream filling topped with fresh fruit originates from New Zealand and is said to be named after Anna Pavlova, the Russian ballerina who visited the country during the 1920s.

The recipe requires a little cornflour to create that unmistakable mallow texture, while a spoonful of vinegar helps to stabilise the egg whites once they’re whipped. This recipe is a twist on the classic. Using a combination of golden caster sugar cut with a few spoonfuls of light muscovado sugar gives it a softer toffee-like flavour, while the hazelnuts, folded into the last third of the mixture and spooned on top, give a contrast in texture and taste.

Serves 6–8

        1 tsp white wine vinegar, plus a little extra

        3 large egg whites

        175g golden caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp to whip the cream

        35g light muscovado sugar

        1 tsp cornflour

        25g chopped hazelnuts

        300ml double cream

        200g raspberries

        Cocoa powder, to dust

1      Preheat the oven to 140°C/120°C fan/gas mark 1. Line a square baking sheet with baking parchment then draw an 18cm round on top, using a plate as a guide. Turn it over so the marks are underneath.

2      Take a very clean bowl and first wipe it out with a piece of kitchen paper soaked in a little vinegar – this will ensure any grease marks are wiped away. Pour the egg whites into the bowl and whisk with an electric hand whisk or in a freestanding mixer until the whites have doubled up in volume and stand in soft peaks when the beater’s lifted. To test if they’re ready, they should no longer be able to move around in the bowl and you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without them falling out.

3      Start to add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and whisk in between each addition, making sure it’s properly incorporated. Continue to do this until you’ve added all the sugar. Add 1 tsp vinegar and the cornflour and whisk in quickly.

4      Spoon about a third of the mixture into the middle of the traced circle and smooth out to the edges.

5      Fold the hazelnuts into the remaining mixture and spoon on top, smoothing it out to the edges. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave to cool in the oven. You can do this up to a day ahead, just put a note on the oven to remind you it’s in there.

6      To serve, whip the cream in a bowl with a tablespoon of sugar. Slide the pavlova onto a serving plate and spoon the cream on top. Scatter over the raspberries, dust with cocoa and serve.


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