Food and Wine Annual 2015 recipe: Mile high pavlova from The Best of Gretta Anna

Gretta Anna's mile high pavlova.
Gretta Anna's mile high pavlova. Photo: Ben Dearnley

Mile high pavlova

Serves 12

300ml thickened cream, whipped

Meringue

<i>The Best of Gretta Anna</i>, with Martin Teplitzky.
The Best of Gretta Anna, with Martin Teplitzky. Photo: Supplied

8 egg whites, pinch of salt
400g castor sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla essence

Lemon curd

180g unsalted butter
330g castor sugar
grated zest and juice of 4 lemons
4 eggs
4 egg yolks

Sugar-stained glass

150g castor sugar
75g fine brown sugar

To make the lemon curd, place the butter, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and begin to melt over medium heat, stirring with a whisk.

Gently beat the four eggs and four egg yolks together with a whisk. Pour in to the saucepan and stir continually until the eggs are cooked and the curd has thickened. This will take about 10 minutes. Be careful that your heat is not too high as you run the risk of the eggs curdling.

Pour the curd in to a bowl and mix in the lemon zest. Place plastic film on the surface of the curd to prevent  a skin from forming. Refrigerate. It will keep for a week to 10 days in the refrigerator.

To make the sugar-stained glass shards, line a baking tray with baking paper. Use a fine sieve to sprinkle the castor sugar evenly over the top, then spread the brown sugar randomly over that. Place under a hot grill or in a hot (200C) oven and heat for about 10-15 minutes until the sugars have caramelised and appear clear.

Remove from the grill or oven and allow to cool and harden, then lightly drop the tray on your work surface to shatter the sugar-stained glass in to random shards. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 120C and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, allowing the mixture to become stiff and glossy. Halfway through adding the sugar, mix in the vinegar and vanilla.

Carefully pipe or spread the meringue in to five or six mounds on the baking trays, about 2.5cm high and about 20cm in diameter. If you're using a piping bag, start in the middle and work your way out, making sure there are no gaps.

Bake for one hour, or until the meringues are crisp but not coloured, then turn off the oven and leave to cool (in the oven) for about one hour.

To assemble your pavlova, place the first meringue layer on to a serving plate and spread a thin layer of lemon curd evenly over it. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on top.

Place your second meringue layer carefully on top of the cream and repeat with a layer of curd and cream. Repeat until you have used all meringue layers. With the final layer of meringue, place dollops of whipped cream randomly on top and place your sugar-stained glass shards in to them.