Delicately flavoured with rosewater, these individual pavlovas make a divine create-your-own dessert. Those who prefer a slightly more casual approach to assembly can opt for an Eaton mess. Simply crush the pavlovas and layer the individual elements in a glass instead!
- lime wedges, to serve
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour, sifted
- 2 tsp rosewater
Vanilla-roasted red fruits
- 500 g trimmed rhubarb (about 2 bunches), cut into 6 cm lengths
- 2 x 250 g punnets small strawberries, hulled
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthways
- 150 g (⅔ cup) caster sugar
- 125 ml (½ cup) thickened cream, whipped to firm peaks
- 130 g (½ cup) thick Greek-style natural yoghurt
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) water
- 75 g unsalted pistachio kernels, toasted
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.
Cooling time 2 hours
To make the rosewater pavlovas, place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 110°C. Line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites in a large bowl on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With the motor running, add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition, until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is very thick and glossy (this will take 4-5 minutes). Add the cornflour and rosewater and whisk to combine. Use a spatula to stir the meringue mixture to ‘loosen’ it slightly (this will get rid of any excess air in the mixture and give it a smoother, less ‘foamy’ texture). Use two metal tablespoons to spoon 8 ovals of the meringue mixture on to the lined tray and use the back of a spoon to make in an indent in the centre of each. Bake in the lower third of the preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, until the meringue is crisp and hard to touch, but not coloured. Turn off the oven, leave the door slightly ajar and cool it completely in the oven (this will take about 2 hours).
To make the toffee pistachios, line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper. Combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and use a wooden spoon to stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Boil for 8-10 minutes, brushing down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals, until the mixture turns a deep caramel. Pour immediately onto the lined tray and then sprinkle with the pistachios. Lightly tap the tray 2-3 times on the bench top to settle the pistachios into the toffee and then set aside to cool completely (this will take about 30 minutes). When cool, use the end of a rolling pin to pound the toffee into coarse chunks.
To make the vanilla-roasted red fruits, preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Rinse the rhubarb and shake off any excess water. Place in a bowl with the strawberries and sugar. Use a small sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean. Add the bean and the seeds to the rhubarb mixture and toss to combine. Transfer to an ovenproof dish just large enough to hold the fruit in a single layer and cover with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the rhubarb is just tender and still holding its shape. Remove the foil and set aside to cool.
To make the yoghurt cream, fold together the whipped cream and yoghurt.
To serve, place the pavlovas, toffee pistachios, roasted fruit, yoghurt cream and lime wedges in the centre of the table for guests to assemble their own dessert.
• The rosewater pavlovas will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
• The vanilla-roasted red fruit will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.
• The toffee pistachios will keep in a sealed jar or airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. You may have to pound again to break up before serving.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.
This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: DIY dessert bar column.
View previous Bakeproof columns and recipes here.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.