Peppermint Crisp pavlova
Serves 6 Preparation time 30 minutes Baking time 1 hour plus cooling time
A decadent twist to everyone’s favourite childhood dessert! (Some of us have never grown up; it’s still a favourite today. – Eds) For your planning, remember that pavlova is selfish and needs to hog the oven for a few hours. It usually works best to bake the meringue before you go to bed and let it cool overnight if you’re serving it for lunch the next day. If it’s for dinner, make it early in the morning so that it’s finished by late afternoon and the oven is free for the rest of your food.
FOR THE PAVLOVA • 6 eggs at room temperature • 1½ cups (375ml) caster sugar • 1 tablespoon (15ml) cornflour • 1½ teaspoons (7,5ml) white-wine
FOR THE FILLING • 2 cups (500ml) ice-cold fresh cream • 1 tin (360g) Caramel Treat • 400g Peppermint Crisp chocolate • ¼ cup (60ml) dessicated coconut • a handful of mint leaves
THIS IS HOW
Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Separate the eggs and place the whites in a clean mixing bowl without any trace of greasiness. (Keep the yolks to make mayonnaise.)
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Continue beating and add the caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time – count to 3 before adding the next one each time. Once all the sugar has been added, continue beating until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is thick and glossy. Combine the cornflour and white-wine vinegar and quickly beat it into the meringue mixture.
Scrape the meringue into the centre of the baking tray. Working quickly, spread it out to form a 20cm circle – it will increase in size as the meringue bakes. Use the back of a spoon to make a slight hollow in the centre of the meringue. Place the baking tray in the centre of the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 120ºC and bake the meringue for 1 hour. Switch off the oven and allow the pavlova to cool inside – preferably overnight. Do not open the oven door at all during this time – resist the temptation to sneak a peek! If you’re not planning to fill it within 3 hours, store the meringue in an airtight container or cover it with clingfilm and place it in a dry spot – humidity is meringue’s archenemy. MAKE THE FILLING Beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Beat the Caramel Treat until smooth. Chop the Peppermint Crisp chocolate finely and fold half of it, along with the Caramel Treat, through the whipped cream. Keep aside the rest of the chocolate. Refrigerate the filling overnight.
Toast the coconut in a clean, dry pan until it is fragrant and starts browning slightly. Keep aside.
To serve, scrape the cream mixture into the hollow of the pavlova and garnish with the mint leaves, the coconut and the remaining chocolate. (Who wants to grow up? – Eds)