This is a great pudding at any time of year (we had it once for Sam’s birthday in May), but ideal at Christmas because it’s eye-catching, wreath-shaped, feeds large numbers and can be made well ahead. Most fruits work well with it, so just use whatever’s in season. I first saw Mary Berry making it on television and you can watch an Australian YouTube demo here that includes mango and cherries (but no raspberries). You’ll be left with a lot of egg yolks after making this: a reason to make some proper custard, ice cream, mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce. The latter, of course, is an essential element of our Christmas Day Brunch.
For the pavlova
6 large free-range egg whites
350g caster sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
For the filling
600ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
50g icing sugar, sifted
200g strawberries, hulled and quartered
50g pomegranate seeds
a few mint leaves, to decorate
icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment and draw a 30cm circle in the middle of the paper. Draw a 15cm circle in the centre of the larger circle to make a ring.
- Put the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Gradually add the sugar a little at a time, whisking on maximum speed until they are stiff and glossy. Mix the vinegar and cornflour in a cup until smooth, then stir into the egg whites.
- Spoon the meringue onto the ring drawn on the baking parchment. Using a large spoon make a shallow trench in the meringue for the cream and fruit to sit in.
- Transfer to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 140C/120C Fan. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, until the outside is hard but still white. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova inside for an hour or overnight to cool and dry.
- To assemble, whip the cream, vanilla paste and icing sugar until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Spoon the cream into the trench in the meringue. Arrange the fruit on top and decorate with a few mint leaves, if using. To serve, dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges.