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Over the years this is the one dessert that I have made the most. I think I made so many at one stage I got a little sick of it and had to move on, only making them on request.

The reason for this creation was for our lovely neighbours who visit twice a year as they actually live in Scotland. And in honour of each visit a pavolva is created, I guess I make at least two a year.

So I thought I would share with you the making of this pavlova recipe just in time for Christmas. This recipe has spanned the globe and recently was made in one of my favourite parts of the world, Champagne by a former work colleague and dear friend. She posted a photo of her creation on Facebook to share her creation. Ironically I had a call tonight to ask if one could be made for our family Christmas dinner, so make that three for this year!

This recipe is not mine, in fact it belongs to my Aunty Helen who would make these amazing creations when we were kids for special occasions. Great crust with a marshmellow centre, covered in lashings of cream inbedded with pieces of pineapple and decorated with strawberries, kiwifruit and passionfruit. I have taken liberties and made a few changes along the way, but on this occasion I was true to the original meringue recipe but played around with the cream and visual appearance to make it my own. I hope my Aunty Helen will be proud that her legacy lives on and in fact lives on half way around the world.

First port of call is pre-heating the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Then cover an oven tray with foil and set aside.

Fresh room temperature eggs are a must. I used 12 egg whites for this recipe. You can use as little as 6 or somewhere in between. Just remember to adjust and add 35g of caster sugar for each egg. My rule of thumb for 12 eggs is you use most of a 500g packet of caster sugar and then leave enough to sweeten 600ml of cream.

Make sure your bowl is clean and dry before cracking your eggs and it is most important to not get any yolk in your egg whites.

Next add a pinch of cream of tartar, helps with stability and creating volume. Beat the egg whites until they start to foam, then slowly add in the caster sugar.
After adding in all the sugar you should have a glossy meringue mixture like below.
At this point add a tablespoon each of cornflour, white vinegar and vanilla essence. When you finish incorporating the ingredients, your mixture should form soft peaks as below.
On the tray you have covered with foil mound your mixture high and carefully work it down with a cake spatula until you have formed a round of meringue.

Place this in the oven. Turn the temperature of the oven down to 130 degrees Celcius and bake for one and a half hours. At the end of the cooking time turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven to cool down slowly, for about 2 hours at least or longer if you can. I usually make a meringue the night before I need it and leave it in the oven overnight.

When it comes out of the oven it will look like this, not very pretty at all and a little crumbly. Remove it from the foil and carefully place it on your cake plate. The foil should just peel away.

So now it is time to decorate, no rules just have fun. You need to whip up some cream. For a pavlova this size I use 600ml of cream, add some caster sugar (approx 80g), a teaspoon of vanilla essense or as I did on this occassion a good splash of rosewater. Strawberries are always a favourite, these ones were from the local strawberry farm in Millgrove.
I used raspberries, pomegranates, pistachios and passionfruit for this creation. Here is the end result. Perhaps a little Ottolenghi influence....
If you make this recipe make sure you send me a picture, I would love to know about your experience.
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