Every now and again we get overrun with eggs from Brenda, Pam and Paula aka The Happy Cluckers. More often than not we give them to our neighbours or family who probably dread us lurking at their front door with a recycled egg box full of odd sized eggs. When it becomes too embarrassing to hand them out I don my apron and start baking. My favourite at the moment is meringue, which is a shame as it only uses the whites but our faithful lab, Meg, waits patiently knowing she'll get the left over yolks. Maybe it's a placebo effect but her coat really shines after she's carefully licked every eggy scrap from her bowl....
So here's a very simple recipe for my berry pavlova....
4 egg whites
175g golden caster sugar
pinch of salt
5ml white wine vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
few drops of vanilla extract
284ml whipping cream/double cream
lots of summer berries
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar and continue beating until the peaks are stiff and shiny. Add the salt, cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract and mix well.
Next, on a piece of baking parchment mark a circle approx 20cm in diameter. It doesn't have to be exact. Place the parchment onto a cold baking sheet.
Scoop out the meringue mixture onto the parchment, getting all (or at least most) of it within the circle and smooth the top and sides.
Aga cookers - pop into the bottom shelf of the top oven for 2 minutes. Then move it to the bottom shelf in the bottom oven for about 2 hours.
Conventional Cookers - Preheat oven to 180C (fan). Put the meringue into the oven and immediately turn it down to 120C and bake for 1.5hours. Then turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside the oven until it is completely cold. Alternatively, leave it to cool in the oven overnight.
Whip the cream and prepare the berries removing any stalks.
Place the meringue on a serving plate. I often turn it upside down as it makes it easier to top with cream. Then at the last minute, dollop on the cream and add the berries.
If you're lucky ..... you might get someone to help with the cleaning up....................