The combination of crisp, chewy meringue, whipped cream and roasted plums makes this dessert absolutely irresistible.
- 3 medium egg whites150g (5oz) caster sugar
- 1tsp cornflour
- 1tsp white wine vinegar
- 1tsp flaked almonds
- For the plums in sauce:
- 100g (3½ oz) caster sugar
- 150ml (¼ pint) red wine
- Large pinch of ground cinnamon
- 8 plums, halved, stones removed
- 2tsp arrowroot
- 2tsp redcurrant jelly or blackberry jelly, optional
- 250g tub mascarpone cheese
- 200ml tub crème fraîche
- 2tbsp icing sugar, optional
- Baking sheet and sheet of baking parchment
To make your pavlova, draw a 20cm (8in) circle on the baking parchment.
Whisk the egg whites until very firm. Whisk in half the sugar to make a glossy meringue, then whisk in the rest of the sugar. Whisk in the sifted cornflour and the vinegar.
Place spoonfuls of mixture just inside the circle to make a ring, and then smooth the remaining meringue in the centre. Scatter the meringue edge with almonds.
Bake for 2 hours in a cool preheated oven at 120°C (250°F, gas mark 1/2). Turn the oven off and leave meringue in the oven until cool. Overnight is fine. Remove baking parchment.
To make the plums in sauce, heat the sugar, wine and cinnamon gently in a large pan, until the sugar dissolves. Place the plums, cut-side down, in the pan in one layer. Cover and cook gently for about 5-7 mins, until soft but still whole. Lift the plums into a shallow dish and cover them loosely. Blend the arrowroot with 2tbsp of water and add to the plum syrup, along with the jelly, if using. Bring to the boil, then simmer, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, cleared and is glossy. Place in a small bowl.
Just before serving, whip the cheese with the crème fraîche and icing sugar, if using, and spoon into the meringue case. Arrange the cooled plums on top and spoon the cooled sauce over.
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Don't like plums? Top with exotic fruits such as mango and passion fruit instead.