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Fresh cherry pavlova
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Make cherries the hero in this spectacular summer dessert
300ml Waitrose Merlot Grape Juice
50g caster sugar
1 lemongrass stalk, halved lengthways (optional)
350g pack cherries
300ml double cream
For the pavlova:
5 medium egg whites
175g caster sugar
75g light brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6. Line a large baking tray with parchment. Stir together both sugars.
2 Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff then whisk in the sugars, a tablespoon at a time, until smooth and glossy. Mix together the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla and whisk into the meringue. Spoon the mixture onto the parchment and spread out to make a circle roughly 22cm in diameter (see cook's tips). Place in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 150C, gas mark 2. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes until golden, then turn off the oven, open the door and leave the pavlova inside to cool completely.
3 Meanwhile, place the grape juice and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemongrass, if using, then raise the heat and bubble for 10 minutes until the juice has reduced by half. Set aside several whole cherries to decorate then halve and stone the remainder. Add the halved cherries to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes until tender then turn off the heat and leave to cool.
4 When ready to serve, lightly whip the cream and spoon on to the pavlova. Top with the cherries and a little syrup and decorate with the reserved cherries (serve the spare syrup in a jug on the side).
Try drawing a circle on the underside of the baking parchment as a sizing guide for the pavlova (a cake tin works well).
Try adding 1 - 2 tbsp of kirsch or rum to the cherries as they cool.
Cherries and dark chocolate are a wonderful combination - try grating some over the top just before serving.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in June 2017.