Last week of summer down under and I am taking advantage of all the fruits in season. I love summer fruits and use them as much as I can to create delicious treats like this grown-up version of berry pavlova. Has anyone tried balsamic strawberries? Fresh strawberries soaked or tossed in fruity balsamic vinegar is one of our favourite toppings. Most of the time, we serve them on top of vanilla ice cream. We love the marriage between tart and sweet flavours this combination gives. This time, balsamic strawberries gave this pavlova another level of excitement along with grilled honeyed figs and fresh raspberries. Another exciting thing about this? I scattered some crystallised violets to add some crunch to it. You can make your own crystallised edible violets of course but I decided to make things just a bit easier and faster and used store bought ones instead.
For the meringue
4 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
For the topping
4 ripe figs, halved
1 tablespoon honey
2 punnets of strawberries, halved
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar of Modena
1 punnet fresh raspberries
300ml thickened cream
For the garnish
fresh mint leaves
100g crystallised violets (optional)
- Preheat oven to 120C degrees.
- In a large bowl, using electric mixer, add egg whites and beat until mixture starts to form stiff peaks. Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating really well after each addition to make sure sugar is dissolved. Keep beating until mixture turns glossy and smooth. It should be stiff and able to hold its shape.
- Cut a piece of baking paper, the size and shape of the dish you are serving pavlova on, and put it on a baking tray. Dollop the mixture on baking paper and spread out with a spatula.
- Bake in the oven for 90 minutes. Turn oven off, leaving meringue in the oven to cool completely, with oven door ajar. This prevents the meringue from collapsing when you take it out of the oven right after it is done.
- Meanwhile, soak strawberries in balsamic vinegar. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
- Brush halved figs with honey. Place under hot grill until they caramelise ( about 5 to 8 minutes). Once done, cool figs then cut in halves ( giving you a quarter size). Set aside until ready to use.
- In a bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form.
- To assemble pavlova, spread cream on top. Scatter strawberries, figs and raspberries on top.
- Garnish with fresh mint leaves and if using, with the crystallised violets.