If you like your desserts in the style of Carmen Miranda’s hat, this one is for you. A different, but really delicious version of pavlova, this is particularly good with fresh lychees if you can bear peeling them. You can use tinned, but the flavour is not as good. It’s best to get everything ready in advance, then put it all together at the last minute and serve at once before the meringue has a chance to go soggy.
- 5 egg whites
- 225g sugar
- 15 ml white malt vinegar
- 1¾ tbsp cornflour
- 150 g mascarpone
- 200 g ginger nut biscuits, crushed
- 300 ml double cream
- 5 chunks of stem ginger, chopped into small pieces, plus some of the syrup milk
- 24 lychees, peeled and stones removed
- rose petals, to garnish
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 3 hours (or overnight)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (Fan 160°C/Gas 4)
Put the egg whites in a large bowl and start to whisk them with an electric hand whisk. When the whites have increased in volume and are starting to hold their own weight, add a couple of tablespoons of the sugar, and continue to whisk to incorporate. Continue to whisk while gradually adding the rest of the sugar, a little at a time, until all the sugar has been incorporated. Then whisk for a further 2 minutes by which time the whites should be glossy and forming stiff peaks.
Pour the vinegar into a small bowl, add the cornflour and mix well. Pour this mixture into the egg whites, scraping all the remnants from the bowl. Whisk for a further 2 minutes to ensure the cornflour mixture has been thoroughly mixed into the meringue.
Line a flat baking tray with baking parchment. Spoon dollops of the meringue mixture on to the tray and use the back of a spoon to push them out into a circle roughly 25cm in diameter. It doesn’t have to be too neat so don’t worry.
When you’re happy with your meringue place it in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 110°C (Fan 90°/Gas ¼). Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven for at least 3 hours or even overnight.
To make the cream, place the mascarpone, crushed ginger nuts, double cream and half of the chopped stem ginger into a bowl. Use a wooden spoon to beat the ingredients together to create quite a thick topping. Add a few splashes of milk to loosen the consistency slightly, until it reaches the point of being like very thick whisked cream.
Dollop the mixture on top of the cooked meringue and spread it out with a spoon or knife. Top with the prepared lychees and the rest of the chopped stem ginger. Drizzle the pavlova with some of the stem ginger syrup before scattering with rose petals. Serve at once!
Recipes and images from The Hairy Bikers' Asian Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, $39.99, hbk, available here)