Using exactly the same ingredients you can make either mini meringues or the beautiful pavlova that features on the January 2010 cover of delicious. magazine.
- 400g caster sugar
- 200g (about 5 large) free-range egg whites
For the decoration
- 70g fresh cranberries
- 3 tbsp vodka
- 40g caster sugar
- 600ml double cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp orange flower water, to taste
- Handful nibbed pistachios (from Middle Eastern shops) or unsalted shelled pistachios
- 1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7. Line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper. (If you’re making the pavlova, draw 2 x 20cm circles as guidelines.) Spread the sugar evenly over a shallow baking tray, lined with baking paper, and place in the oven for about 10 minutes until really hot.
- 2. Place the egg whites in an electric mixer fitted with a whisk. Whisk on high speed until the whites begin to froth, then gradually pour in the hot sugar. Continue whisking on a high speed for 10 minutes until the meringue is beautifully silky and holds its shape.
- 3. Reduce the temperature to 110°C/fan90°C/ gas ¼. Stick the baking paper to the baking sheets with a little meringue.
- 4. For mini meringues: fill a piping bag with meringue and pipe golf ball-size rounds on to the baking sheet. Have a bowl of water nearby; dip a teaspoon in the water and use the back of it to create a nest shape. Repeat, spaced apart – you should get about 60 mini meringues.
- For the pavlova: use a spoon and a palette knife to shape and swirl the meringue over the marked circles on the baking sheet.
- 5. Bake the mini meringues for 1 hour, and the pavlovas for 2 hours until crisp to touch. Turn off the oven and leave inside to cool completely.
- 6. Gently heat the cranberries, vodka and caster sugar in a small pan for 3-5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the cranberries are starting to release their juices. Cool a little. In a bowl, whip the cream, icing sugar and orange flower water, to taste, to soft peaks.
- To assemble the mini meringues Place the meringues on serving plates, and spoon a small dollop of orange cream onto each one. Spoon a boozy cranberry and a little syrup over the top, then sprinkle with chopped nibbed pistachios.
- To assemble the pavlova Place a meringue disc on a cake stand and spread with half the cream. Spoon over half the cranberries and syrup. Place the second meringue on top, spooning the rest of the cream into the centre. Drizzle with the remaining cranberries and syrup, sprinkle with the nibbed pistachios and decorate with chocolate leaves (see tip).
Per mini meringue: 86kcals, 5.6g fat (3.4g saturated), 0.6g protein, 8.4g carbs, 8g sugar, trace salt
The plain meringues can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. To make chocolate leaves slowly melt 50g dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Brush the shiny side of 3 clean holly leaves with a little olive oil. Then, using a clean paint brush, cover them with a good coat of melted chocolate. Once the chocolate has just begun to set, dust with a little caster sugar, then set aside to harden in the fridge. Gently peel away the leaves from the chocolate. Keep in a cool place until ready to decorate the pavlova.