It’s been a slow and steady pick of gooseberries this year, after spending four long hours doing a marathon pick of 19kg last year, my thumbs still haven’t got over the endless puncturing from the beastly thorns. Gooseberries have such an excellent acidity to counter the immense sweetness of meringue, and pavlova being a such a crowd pleaser, they’ve crowned the top of many this summer.
The hedgerows are slowly turning claret now that the blackberries are ripening; the last of the red gooseberries in the garden and the first plucking of the finger staining blackberries make for a gorgeous tangy duo.
Feeds 2 – 4
- 2 egg whites
- 110 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp cornflower
- 50g blackberries
- 50g gooseberries
- 200 ml double cream (to make a dairy free dessert, swap the cream out for coconut yogurt)
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Put the egg whites into a large bowl and whisk until cloud-like with peaks. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition, until all the sugar has been added and the mixture has stiff peaks. Stir in the vinegar and cornflower. Spread the meringue out to cover the circle on the non-stick baking parchment, building up the sides so they are higher than the middle.
Place in the oven but immediately reduce the temperature to 150°C. Bake for 45 mins until firm to the touch and a pale beige colour. Turn the oven off and allow the Pavlova to become quite cold while still in the oven. If you keep the oven door closed you will encourage a more marshmallowy meringue.
Place the gooseberries and blackberries in a saucepan with a splash of water. Put on a gentle heat until they begin to collapse. Let them cool.
Remove the cold Pavlova from the baking sheet and parchment and slide onto a serving plate. Top with the whipped cream and the gooseberry, blackberry compote.