One of the first things I remember baking as a kid in Trinidad are soupies. Plain meringue rounds, usually with a good dash of garish food colouring. I don’t think I’ve made meringue since then, so this dessert is a long time coming! This time the recipe will be a bit more sophisticated; I’ll be making a lemon and blueberry Pavlova. I’m not a great fan of dry, chalky meringue so I’m making it with a just about baked, soft, chewy Swiss meringue.
For a successful meringue you need to ensure you do a few things. Firstly, use the freshest eggs possible. Next, separate you eggs – one by one – not into each other to ensure none of the yolk gets into the mix. If you don’t, the yolk of the last egg you crack splits, that would be all the egg whites ruined!
It’s also important to make sure that your mixing bowl and your whisk or whisk attachment are clean as a whistle. If they have any sign of oil or grease it will affect how well the egg whites form those all-important stiff peaks.
Success on that front – so I was off to a good start!
I decided on three graduated layers with whipping cream swirled with the gently simmered blueberries – and a small batch of my freshly made lemon curd.
The flavours worked so well together – the sweet meringue combining beautifully with the slightly tart blueberries and the sweet, unctuous lemon. A real triumph!
Other great Pavlova fillings you could try are the classic strawberries, passion fruit & kiwifruit; mandarin; peach, pomegranate, banana & toffee (banoffee) or black cherry & chocolate (black forest). Or flavour the actual meringue with cocoa powder, fine ground coffee beans or – my new favourite – cardamom.
- 4 egg whites
- 200g/7oz caster sugar
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 150g/5oz blueberries
- 300ml/10½fl oz whipping cream
- 50g lemon curd
- Preheat the oven to 100ºC/200ºF/gas mark ½
- Line a large oven tray with baking parchment
- In a heat-proof mixing bowl, gently mix the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar over a simmering saucepan of water (make sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water). Keep stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved
- Remove the mixing bowl from the saucepan and, using an electric mixer, beat on a slow speed rising gradually to a high speed. Continue for about 3-5 minutes until the meringue forms stiff peaks
- Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle
- Pipe 3 graduated circular shapes and 6-8 meringue kisses on to the parchment paper
- Bake for 1-1½ hours depending on how sticky or hard you want the finished meringue
- Put the blueberries into a small saucepan with a tablespoonful of sugar and cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool
- Beat the whipping cream until thickened and forms peaks. Set aside
- When cooked, remove the meringue from the parchment paper (you may need to use a palette knife) and allow to cool completely on a wire rack
- Put the largest meringue round on to a large plate and top with ⅓ of the whipped cream, ⅓ of the blueberry mixture and drizzle with ⅓ of the lemon curd
- Repeat with the two other circles of meringue (the smallest goes on the top)
- Decorate with the meringue kisses