Mixed berry pavlova

Jill Dupleix's ultimate pavlova.
Jill Dupleix's ultimate pavlova. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Gluten-free

The great Antipodean pav is a marvel of culinary engineering, from its light and fluffy interior to its crisp, crunchy shell.

Ingredients

6 egg whites (65g eggs), at room temperature

250g (1 cup) castor sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp white vinegar

1 level tbsp cornflour (check gluten-free if required)

250ml (1 cup) thick cream

1 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

100g natural yoghurt

mint leaves, to serve

Mixed berry sauce

250g raspberries, rinsed

1 tbsp icing sugar

250g strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved

Method

1. Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a 23cm diameter circle in the centre. Heat oven to 150C (130C fan-forced).

2. Using an electric beater, beat egg whites in a clean, dry glass or metal bowl at medium speed until firm peaks form on top. Add the castor sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating for at least 30 seconds after each addition. Beat until the meringue is stiff, shiny and no longer grainy. Beat in the vanilla extract and vinegar. Sift the cornflour over the top and beat until mixed well.

3. Spoon the meringue mixture onto the tray, using the circle as a guide. Using a spatula knife, draw the mixture from the bottom up the sides to shape into a round.

4. Place in the lower rack of the oven and immediately reduce temperature to 120C (100C fan-forced). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until crisp outside (but not coloured), then turn off oven and leave to cool completely.

5. To make the mixed berry sauce, put half the raspberries and all the icing sugar in a small food processor and briefly whiz until mixture forms a puree. Push the puree into a bowl through a sieve. Add the strawberries and remaining raspberries to the bowl and toss to combine.

6. Using an electric beater, beat the cream with the icing sugar to firm peaks. Beat in the yoghurt until well combined. Refrigerate until needed.

7. To serve, gently top the cooled pavlova with large spoonfuls of the cream (if the meringue cracks, glue together with cream mixture). Spoon the berries and their sauce on top of the pavlova, scatter with mint leaves and dust with extra icing sugar. (Or you can serve the berries and sauce separately, if you prefer.)

Tips:

Do not open the oven door during baking, or the pavlova will collapse.

Egg whites should be fresh and at room temperature. Beat them until they form firm upright peaks before adding the sugar.

Add the sugar a spoonful at a time and beat until the meringue no longer feels grainy when you rub a little between thumb and forefinger.

Vinegar helps to stabilise the egg whites, and cornflour helps prevent the meringue from weeping.

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