With a crisp meringue outside and a soft, marshmallow-like interior, this pavlova is topped with whipped cream with flecks of vanilla bean running through it, and a sharp, Olive Oil and lemon curd. A sprinkling of fresh basil and berries finishes the dessert.
For the meringue:
4 egg whites
225g caster sugar
For the Lemon Curd
65g Crete Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil
95g caster sugar
2 lemons, zested and juiced
4 egg yolks
2 Beldi Preserved Lemons, flesh removed, and skin finely chopped
600ml double cream
1 vanilla pod (can use essence or paste as a substitute)
600g berries – a mix of raspberry, blackberry and strawberry is good, but if only using one, go for something that is sharp and acidic
1 small bunch basil, approx. 15g, leaves separated from stalks
Pre heat the oven to 140C / 120C non-fan and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Once the meringue is made you can use a small amount of it stick the paper to tray. Separate the eggs, being extra careful not to get any yolk into the white. Set aside the yolks to make the lemon curd later.
Place the whites in a bowl and use an electric whisk (manual is fine but will take longer) to beat until it begins to look foamy. Add around a quarter of the sugar and whisk until incorporated. Add the same amount of sugar again and continue to whisk, repeating until all the sugar has been added. Continue to whisk until you have a thick, stiff glossy meringue.
Use a large spoon to scoop out all the meringue onto the baking paper, then spread into a circle that is roughly 23cm, building the sides up and leaving a well in the middle.
Place the meringue into the oven and immediately turn it down to 120C/100C non-fan, then bake for 1 hour and 15mins. Turn the oven off and leave it in there until cool.
Whilst the meringue is cooking, and cooling make the lemon curd. Add all the ingredients except the preserved lemon into a heat proof bowl and place over a saucepan with an inch of simmering water in the bottom. Keep on a medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken, which should take about 5 – 8 mins. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped preserved lemon rind, then place the mix into a heat proof jar or bowl to cool.
Once the curd and meringue has cooled, add the double cream to a mixing bowl then scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the cream (cut the vanilla pod lengthways and using a knife gently scrape out the seeds). Whisk the cream and vanilla until its thick and holds its shape.
Cut up your berries for the top into a variety of shapes and sizes and thinly slice the basil leaves.
Place the meringue on to your serving dish, place the cream into the well of the meringue, top with the lemon curd, scatter the berries over the top and finally finish with the basil.