Charlotte Ree's Layered Berry Pavlova

 

Charlotte Ree's Layered Berry PavlovaEach year, my bestie Gaby and I host an event called Friendsmas with some of our most favourite people. We spend the weekend cooking and pavlova always makes an appearance as dessert. This is my recipe for a layered pavlova. If you only want to make a single pavlova shell, simply halve all of the ingredients but maintain the same temperature and cooking time. 

You will know when you have soft peaks because the egg whites will look like white waves when you lift your whisk. Stiff peaks droop down and stick to the beater. It is imperative that you have your eggs at room temperature to achieve this.

Make sure that you only decorate your pavlova when you are ready to serve to avoid the meringue going soggy from the cream. It’s a fun dessert to take to a friend’s house as you can whip the cream and prepare the decorations in advance, then arrange it on-site. You can add any fruit you want but I prefer red berries because they look so festive. You can also use blueberries, passionfruit, kiwi fruit or mango. 

For me, this dish is almost a work of art. To give it that Klimt-esque midas touch, I use edible gold leaf and gold dust, which you can find at specialty stores or online.

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the pav base:

  • 12 large egg whites, at room temperature 

  • 800 g caster sugar 

  • 1 ¼ tablespoons corn flour

  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

For the pav topping:

  • 2 litres thickened cream 

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste 

  • 500 g fresh strawberries, halved and tops removed 

  • 125 g fresh blueberries 

  • edible gold or purple dust, optional, for decorating 

  • 250 g fresh raspberries 

  • 30 g freeze-dried raspberries, optional, for decorating 

  • Edible flowers, optional, for decorating 

  • Edible gold leaf, optional, for decorating

 

 METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Trace a circle on the underside of the baking paper so that your pavlova shells are of equal size. (I trace around the inside of one of my 22 cm springform cake tins, ensuring consistency every time!) 

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. With the motor running, gradually add the sugar, one spoonful at a time, until you have a shiny and stiff meringue. 

  3. Add the cornflour, lemon zest and juice and fold the ingredients together using the folding tool. 

  4. Divide the meringue mixture evenly between the two baking trays, spreading it gently to fill the circles. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

  5. For the topping, whip the cream and vanilla in the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 

  6. Place one of the pavlova shells on a platter (I usually pick whichever is the flatter of the two) and top with half the cream and a layer of strawberries. Place the second pavlova shell on top and repeat with the remaining cream and strawberries. 

  7. In a small bowl, cover your blueberries in gold or purple dust (if using). 

  8. Add the blueberries and raspberries to the top of the pavlova so it appears full and abundant, and sprinkle with crumbled freeze-dried raspberries, if desired. If you are using them, add edible flowers and gold leaf to the top of your pavlova, too. The pavlova is best eaten immediately.

 

Recipe by Charlotte Ree. Find her website here, follow her on Instagram here and, for a special Christmas treat for the sweet-toothed foodie in your life, buy her newly released Just Desserts cookbook here