Last Sunday was Father’s Day, I’m fortunate enough to have quite a good relationship with my parents when I was at University I knew a lot of people my own age had quite strained and difficult relations with their immediate family. In a way it made me feel more fortunate and a little sad for them – maybe we should take these family days as a moment to try and overlook the more troubled times and just enjoy being together.
I always think Dads get a bit of a bad press but they’re just as important an influence in the lives of young developing children as mothers. After all we take our early social skills and cues from our parents. Over the years my Dad has tried (and occasionally failed) to teach me many different life lessons from of course making pottery to how to lay carpets and do accounts. I’m fortunate enough to have a Dad who always gives good advice even if I don’t always listen to it!
Having just moved house I wanted to bake something that we as a family would all enjoy so this pavlova recipe is quite a big one, if your wanting to make a smaller version particularly in the meringue just half the quantities. There are many things that you ‘inherit’ moving house from the weird noises, to the strange plumbing arrangements and the oven. We’ve switched from a range cooker to a fan assisted oven which I haven’t cooked in since my days at University, thankfully it turned out alright.
The best thing about summer has to be the soft fruit and since in this recipe your boiling it down to make a compote the appearance of the fruit doesn’t really matter so long as it tastes great!
600 grams soft fruit
4 table spoons of caster sugar
125 ml dairy whipping cream
1 vanilla pod
12 ounces of caster sugar
6 egg whites
a few drops of white vinegar or lemon juice
1. Wash your soft fruit, if you are using cherries take out the stones. Place all the fruit into a medium sized saucepan and set it to a high boiling heat. Add the sugar and boil the mixture vigorously for about 4 minutes. Leave to simmer on a medium heat for about 6 minutes. The mixture should be thick and glossy.
2. Pour your compote to one side and allow it to cool down before pouring into a jug and chilling in the fridge.
3. Pour out your whipping cream into a chilled bowl and whip using an electric whisk, blend in the vanilla pod. Keep your whipped cream in the fridge until your ready to assemble the pavlova.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees C so that it’s nice and hot when the meringue is ready to go into the oven.
5. Separate the eggs and put the egg whites into a large bowl, start to beat them with an electric whisk. Once they start to go white and fluffy add 6 ounces of white sugar, the mixture should start to develop a sheen to it and increase in volume. Add the next 6 ounces of sugar and continue to beat the egg white mixture until stiff peaks form, blend in the white vinegar.
6. Using a spatula put the egg white mixture onto a baking sheet or greaseproof paper and transfer to the oven. Once in turn down the heat to about 140 degrees or less and bake in the oven for about an hour.
7. Once the meringue is ready allow it to cool before assembling, place the fruit compote on first
followed by the whipped cream and it’s ready to serve!