Day ten of The Twelve Days Of Christmas. Only two more to go and we’re well and truly stuffed here! Not sure where we’ll put the Christmas lunch – extra large doggy bag? Day ten is another dessert and one which is very indulgent.
Some desserts are favourites because they’ve been served since chilhood and evoke all those family memories. There is a definite favourite for me. I had an aunt who used to specialise in desserts or maybe it was just that she cooked them and my mother didn’t. Juicy sticky rhubard crumble, chocolate pudding – warm with chocolate custard and my favourite pavlova.
That wonderful meringue and cream concoction with the sweetness of fresh fruit, was created for the ballerina Anna Pavlova on a trip to New Zealand in the 1920s (Australia also lays claim to having created it for her). So what better dish to represent Ten Ladies dancing?
Raspberry, Caramel and Praline and Pavlova
For the meringue
- 6 large egg whites
- 350g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 150c.
- Put the egg white into a large bowl with a pinch of caster sugar.
- Whisk the whites starting slowly at first.
- When the whites reach the soft peak stage add the remainder of the sugar one tablespoon at a time.
- When the whites are glossy and form stiff peaks, transfer to a piping bag.
- Draw stars on two pieces of baking parchment.
- Pipe the shape of the star onto the paper by piping lines across the star shape. Or piping the outline and then filling in the shape.
- Then pipe a border on top of the base layer.
- Place both stars into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 140c.
- Cook for 1 hour and then turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven until cold.
For the filling
- 400ml double cream or whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or seeds from 1 vanilla pod
- 20g icing sugar sifted
- 170g fresh raspberries
- Whip the cream.
- Fold in the vanilla paste and the sieved caster sugar.
- Place two thirds of the cream onto one layer of the meringue.
- Scatter or place the raspberries on top of the cream.
- Set aside the remainder of the cream.
For the nut topping
- 150g salted macadamia nuts
- 90g caster sugar
For the caramel sauce
- 65g unsalted butter
- 160g caster sugar
- 100ml whipping (or double) cream
To prepare the nut topping
- Scatter the nuts over a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 140ºC for about 15 minutes, until golden.
- Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Place the 90g sugar in a saucepan with a very thick base but wide enough to be sure the sugar is in a thin layer.
- Heat the sugar gently until it turns into a golden-brown caramel. Do not stir it at any stage. Don’t worry if some small bits of sugar don’t totally dissolve.
- Carefully add the toasted nuts and mix gently with a wooden spoon. When most of the nuts are coated in caramel, pour them on to the lined baking tray and leave to set.
To make the sauce
- Put the butter and sugar in a thick-bottomed saucepan and stir constantly over a medium heat with a wooden spoon until it becomes a smooth, dark caramel.
- The butter and sugar will look as if they have split. Don’t worry; just keep on stirring.
- Once the desired colour is reached, carefully add the cream while stirring vigourously. The mixture will bubble up at this point and then subside.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.
- Place the second layer of meringue on top of the cream and raspberries.
- Spread the remainder of the whipped cream onto the centre of the star.
- Break bits off the nut praline and chop them very roughly with a large knife. It’s nice to leave some of the nuts just halved or even whole.
- Pour the caramel over the top of the pavlova allowing it to drip down the sides.
- Top with the nut praline.