Yes, this is a more time-consuming bake. But, it is a truly showstopping summer dessert for any celebration or party. Just by playing around with flavours and making a few tweaks to the traditional pavlova elements, this recipe becomes a real standout pud that will be sure to get the lucky recipients talking.
I went with a flavour combination of peaches and raspberries as they were in season at the time, however, you could make this all year round and pair with whatever seasonal fruit you have to hand. For example in autumn plums and pears would work beautifully.
But! The bit you should not skip on (and the best part in my opinion) is the maple cream. It is so much more than just double cream as it’s flavoured with maple syrup and has some of the blitzed up hazelnut praline running through it to add a crunchy nutty layer of texture.
So bloody good.
6 large egg whites
200g golden caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 punnet of fresh raspberries
500ml double cream
5 tablespoons of maple syrup
Two vanilla bean pods (or 4 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste)
Hazelnut praline (see method)
100g brown sugar
3 tablespoons amaretto
100g blanched hazelnuts (chopped and roasted)
4 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
1 teacup of water
Heat oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/gas mark 4/350ºF
Using an electric whisk - whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks
Once stiffened, add the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time continuously whisking whilst doing so, then do the same with the brown sugar
Once the mixture is stiff and glossy whisk in your cornflour and white wine vinegar
Draw a circle on some baking parchment using 9” round cake tin and place parchment paper on a large baking tray
Using the circle as your guide, spoon the meringue in the circle ensuring that there is more meringue on the outer edges and a slight dip in the middle for you to fill with your fruit and cream
Place meringue in the oven and then immediately turn down the oven temperature to 150°C/130°C Fan/gas mark 2/300ºF
Cook in the oven on the middle shelf, you will need to check meringue at one hour, but it is likely to take 1hour 15mins. Once ready the meringue should be crisp and dry around the edges
Turn the oven off and leave the door ajar slightly, then leave in oven for a good few hours until meringue is completely cool - you could even leave it with the oven closed overnight!
Heat up the water and sugar on a mid to high heat until the sugar is dissolved
Simmer for 6 minutes then take off the heat and add the amaretto
Slice your peaches and lay in a bowl, cover with marinade and leave for a good few hours
Whisk together the double cream, vanilla, and maple syrup until thick peaks begin to form - stop at this point and don’t over whip!
Put your hazelnuts on a baking sheet and place on flat oven tray and roast in the oven for 5 minutes
Roughly chop the nuts and place back onto the baking sheet
Make your caramel by combining the sugar and water together in a saucepan
Place over a low heat until the sugar dissolves
Once the sugar is dissolved turn up the heat and boil until the sugar turns to a golden caramel colour
Don’t be tempted to stir at any point, the sugar will crystallise
Once the sugar has turned to caramel immediately pour over the nuts and set aside to cool
Assembling the meringue
Transfer your meringue onto your serving platter
Blitz the hardened hazelnut praline in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumb size chunks
Pour half of the praline into the maple cream and stir through carefully, reserve the other half for sprinkling
Carefully fill the meringue with the maple cream
Cover with your marinaded peach slices and raspberries
Sprinkle everything with the remaining praline