Soft fruits are in season again and thoughts are turning ineluctably to Pavlova. You’ve probably made a good few in your time (especially you Antipodean readers). Ah, but how about a rolled up Pavlova? Ages ago I got a fabulous-sounding recipe from friend and supercook (make that Masterchef) Liz Franklin. The ingredients were as for the classic Pavlova meringue (egg whites + sugar + cornflour/cornstarch + vinegar) – so far so unsurprising. Then Liz instructed that the Pavlova be spread out in a rectangle on baking parchment, baked, turned out, filled with whipped cream and fruit and rolled up, roulade-style.
Rolled up? A meringue? It would never – could never – work, I muttered, disbelievingly. But it sounded irresistible, and of course Liz knows her onions (and meringues, and more). I had to try it. Egg whites were beaten to a frenzy with a pinch of salt, followed by sugar and cornflour and the tiniest schuss of Melfor (Alsace’s answer to vinegar, honey- and herb-infused). I laid a sheet of baking parchment on a baking sheet, plonked the meringue mixture in the middle, spread it out to the edges with a spatula and baked it, as directed, for just about half an hour (at 140C).
I set it on a rack, still on its parchment, to cool a little. Then I sugared a second sheet of non-stick paper and inverted the meringue onto it. The first surprise was that the parchment used to bake the Pavlova peeled away like a dream, exposing a gorgeous marshmallowy meringue underside. I whipped the cream, slathered it over most of the surface, covered the cream with soft fruit (the first rasps, redcurrants and wild strawberries from the garden plus black cherries and apricot pieces). Then, panting a little, I used the second sheet of sugary paper to help roll it all up in a neat bolster.
Eh voilà: Liz’s Pavlova Roulade (and a bow to Liz!). Give it a go, it really works. Tastes wicked too.
3 egg whites
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cornflour/cornstarch
1 tablespoon wine vinegar or Melfor
250ml whipping cream
a selection of soft fruits, trimmed and sliced/quartered, about 250g plus extra to serve on the side if wished
- Line a baking tin about 25 x 35 cm with baking parchment and heat the oven to 140oC
- Beat the whites with salt till very stiff
- Add the sugar and continue beating till stiff and glossy
- Mix together the cornflour and vinegar and pour it onto the whites
- Spread the mixture out to a rectangle on the baking parchment and bake for about 30 minutes or until just set and the paper can be peeled away
- Cool the pavlova for about 10 minutes on a rack
- Whip the cream till stiff and reserve
- Take a second sheet of parchment and sprinkle it with sugar
- Invert the pavlova over the sugary paper and peel away the parchment from the baked pavlova
- Spread the cream over two-thirds of the pavlova along the long side, leaving one-third exposed, arrange fruit on top of the cream
- Roll up the pavlova from the long side, using the parchment to help you
- Close the parchment over the pavlova to enclose snugly; if necessary staple the edges together to keep it in shape (though mine seemed to hold without stapling)
- Refrigerate till needed
- Garnish with redcurrant sprays and/or mint sprigs
- Serve in slices with raspberry or redcurrant coulis (fruit blended with a little water and icing sugar to taste, strained to remove pips) and extra fruit if wished