Sometimes on a Sunday evening after dinner, I just want something nice. Well actually, every evening after dinner I want something nice but I will generally act on it on a Sunday. Monday to Saturday I tend to be “good” and watch what I eat. Anyone who tells you other wise is lying!
Since I was little at every gathering, family party, neighbourhood birthday, anniversary, christening and everything in between, my mum would, with complete ease, throw together a couple of pavlovas which would then be covered with fresh cream, fruit or chocolate.
I have had mums recipe for a couple of years in the back of my recipe book but had put off trying until now as my last attempt was a disaster! I decided that last night, I would try again. And this time – Success!!!
It took me about 5 minutes to throw together but the baking takes just over an hour and the pavlova needs to be left in the oven until completey cold. Without opening the door! So probably best to make these ahead, and just fill them before you want to serve.
To make them you will need to cut a sheet of baking paper to place on a large baking sheet. As a guide for size, use a dinner plate as a template and trace around it onto the baking paper with pencil. Then place the baking sheet, with the pencil side down on the baking sheet.
Preheat your oven to 150C.
You will need;
6 egg whites, 2 cups of caster sugar, pinch of salt, 2 tbsp custard powder, 2 tsp vinegar.
Beat the egg whites together with the salt until fluffy. Add 1&1/2 cups of the sugar to the egg mixture spoon by spoon while the beater is still on. When sugar is mixed in well add the vinegar (again with the beater still on)
In a separate cup, mix the remaining sugar and custard powder. Turn off the beater and with a metal spoon fold gently into the mixture.
Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet using the pencil mark as a template. Using a spatula, spread the mixture so that the edges are a little higher than the centre.
Place the baking sheet into the centre of the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 135C. Bake the pavlova for one hour and 15 minutes. THen turn off the oven and leave to cool in the oven.
Once the pavlova has cooled completely, carefully transfer to your serving dish, peeling off the baking sheet. There will be little shards and bits that will fall off as you are doing this and I find that with mums, there will always be parts of the edge that will crack. It adds to the look of the finished product!
Now, the fun part.
To fill the pavlova, take 2 x 250ml containers of cream whipped to soft peaks. Spread this into the main body of the pavlova bringing it level with the sides. After this, what you put on top is up to you!
Usually, I use the lovely containers of frozen fruits that you can find in the supermarket. In summer, use fresh strawberries, with rasperries, kiwis, plums – the possibilities are endless.
If you are feeling particularly indulgent, you can use chocolate. Before you place the cream onto the pavlova, take 2 bags of maltesers and a crunchie. Reserve 10 maltesers for the top and place the rest in a freezer bag with the crunchie. Crush them with a wooden spoon or rolling pin until chunky and bashed, but not powdered! Pour them into the cream mix and stir in well. Place this mix onto the pavlova and use the reserved maltesers to decorate.
For this Sunday evening treat, I mixed the maltesers in with the cream and them topped it all with strawberries. Slightly healthy, but more indulgent.
If you wanted to you could use a low fat greet yoghurt as the filling but to be honest any of the alternatives I have tried are just not the same. And the best thing about this is that as it uses fresh cream, it has to be eaten within 2 days.
You will be delighted to hear that I had no such problems. Mr. C very kindly stepped in and offered to take most of it home on a visit to his parents. I later found out that he ate it all himself. All of it. All three quarters of it. Still, waste not, want not.
Now, I am off to watch America’s Next Top Model with a cup of Laduree leaf tea that I “found” at the back of the press. mmmmm treats!
So what is your favourite Sunday (or any day) evening treat? Do you need something sweet after dinner everyday or just once every now and then?