The great thing about this famous dessert is that the meringue can be made way ahead of time, and filled at the last minute. Meringues are always popular: this filling is a fantastic combination of flavours.
8 egg whites,
at room temperature
460 g castor sugar (560 ml) 10 ml vinegar
30 ml cornflour
10 ml vanilla essence
300 ml whipping cream
3 bananas, cut on the diagonal, into slices
200 ml Salted Caramel Sauce (see page 117)
Fresh coconut shavings, or large, dried coconut flakes
- Preheat oven to 140°C/120oC fan/Gas mark 1.
- Pavlova: Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, on high speed, in an electric food mixer.
- Fold in castor sugar a little at a time; beating continuously on high speed, until thick, and soft peaks hold; this should take around 10 minutes.
- Add in vinegar and cornflour; lastly the vanilla essence.
- Use a large baking sheet, which has been lined with baking paper. Draw a 25 cm circle in the middle of the paper.
- Spoon the meringue onto this circle, making the edges slightly higher than the centre. Make swirls in the meringue so that it looks stunning when cooked.
- Bake at 140°C/120oC fan/Gas mark 1 for 1 hour; then turn down the temperature to 100°C/80oC fan/ Gas mark 1⁄4; bake for a further 45 minutes.
- Allow to cool in the oven.
- Filling: Whip cream until soft peaks form; place in the centre of the pavlova.
- Arrange banana slices decoratively on top of the cream.
- Immediately prior to serving, heat salted caramel sauce for 1 minute on 100% power in the microwave oven, to soften the sauce. Do not heat the sauce too much, as it will melt the cream. Drizzle over bananas and cream; sprinkle over coconut flakes.
- Serve immediately.
• Place unpeeled bananas into a deep bowl. Pour boiling water over. Allow to stand for 60 seconds, until peels begin to go black. Pour off the water. Allow to cool before peeling. An enzyme is released between the skin and the banana, which prevents discolouring for a fairly long time.