Thursday, 10 September 2015

Peach & almond pavlova with a berry coulis

Just to try and keep the summer around for a liiiiiittle bit longer, I've made pavlova. Known as one of the summeriest puddings around, pavlova is as beautiful as it is delicious.

I wanted it to look fun. And I wanted all encompassing flavour. Usually with Pavlova's I have to carefully construct each bite to ensure a combo of meringue, whipped cream and fruit. By splashing my homemade berry coulis all over the shop, I've removed the possibility of a fruitless bite (see what I did there?).  

Lightly grilling the peaches creates a lovely look and helps soften the peach wedges slightly, allowing them to smush in with the pudding when you eat it, rather than shoot away unexpectedly when you approach with your spoon (slippery buggers). However, if your peaches are beautifully ripe and you would like them to remain un-grilled then of course, be my guest.

This is a brilliant pudding to make with small people around who can pile on the fruit and almonds, and splash on some berry coulis (don't wear white). By small people, I mean your short friends. Joking, I mean children.

Peach & almond pavlova with a berry coulis

My Pavlova base was taken from the Delia's Complete Cookery Course (Delia never fails). The additional bits and pieces are my combo.

Quantities: Serves 6

Timings: 
Cooking & prep: 1 1/2 hours 
Waiting for pavlova to cool: overnight / a few hours

Kitchen Stuff: Hand whisk (electric is better), baking tray, baking paper, jar for coulis, small frying pan, skewer or chopstick

Ingredients:
Berry coulis:
300g blackberries and blueberries (2/3 cup) - use frozen or fresh
50g light brown soft sugar (1/4 cup)
100ml water
½ lemon, for juice

Pavlova:
Large handful of almond flakes, toasted
2-3 ripe peaches, sliced into thin wedges
3 large egg whites
175g caster sugar
275ml double cream, whipped

Method

BLACKBERRY COULIS: 

1. Put your blackberries, blueberries and soft brown sugar into a small pan with 100ml water. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft. Remove from the heat and cool a little. Stir in the juice from half a lemon and taste. Add more if desired.

2. Pour about two thirds of the contents into a food processor or blender and whiz until smooth. Add the puree back to the pan with the rest whole berries and stir. Transfer to a clean jar or a Tupperware.  

*****

PAVLOVA:

Preheat oven to 150°C (300°f)
Lightly oil a large baking sheet and line it with baking paper.

1. MERINGUE: Carefully separate your eggs and egg whites and measure out your sugar. Put your egg whites in a large mixing bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks. Be careful not to over-whisk them otherwise they will collapse. Delia says you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without them sliding out, this is optimum whisked-ness. When ready, whisk in the sugar a little at a time (about 25g) until all combined. The meringue will be smooth and glossy.

2. PAVLOVA SHAPE: Take a metal tablespoon and spoon the meringue mixture onto your prepared baking tray, forming a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Due to my baking tray shape, mine was more of an oblong. Then spoon large blobs next to each other around the edge of the circle. Once you’ve spooned out all the meringue, using the tip of a skewer or a chopstick, make little swirls in the meringue in each blob to form tiny peaks. Have a look at the picture above for reference of final appearance.

3. COOK & COOL: Place the baking sheet in the oven then immediately turn down the heat to 140°C and leave it to cook for one hour. After an hour, turn the heat right off but leave the Pavlova inside the oven until it is completely cool, overnight works well. Delia believes the secret to a great meringue is to let it dry out completely, so this is a very important step.

While your meringue is in the oven, make your berry coulis (see recipe above) and pop it in the fridge.


4. TO SERVE: If you are grilling your peach wedges, heat your grill pan until very hot, and grill your peaches for 2 minutes on each side, until they have slight grill marks and are slightly softened. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Heat a small frying pan and lightly toast a handful of flaked almonds until golden brown. Whip your cream.

To serve the pavlova, lift it from the baking sheet, peel off the paper and place it on a serving dish. Spoon your whipped cream into the centre of the pavlova so it is surrounded by the peaked blobs. Scatter your grilled peaches on the whipped cream followed by a few spoons of the berry coulis and a handful of the toasted almond flakes. I like to keep some almond flakes and coulis aside to serve extra with each slice, depending on what the person eating wants. If so inclined, feel free to serve with a dusting of icing sugar.