Pep­per­mint Crisp pavlova

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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.

YOU NEED

FOR THE PAVLOVA • 6 eggs at room tem­per­a­ture • 1½ cups (375ml) caster sugar • 1 ta­ble­spoon (15ml) corn­flour • 1½ tea­spoons (7,5ml) white-wine

vine­gar

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)

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