Last week was Desserts week on Great British Bake Off, did you catch it? I remember making a self-saucing pudding when I was baking along with the Desserts episode of the show last year. The puddings this year were all rather daunting – crème brûlée which can either turn out as scrambled egg if overcooked or soup if undercooked, the spanische Windtorte with its French meringue shell, Swiss meringue decoration, and handmade violets, and three tiers of baked cheesecake.
When trying to decide what to make for the Great Bloggers Bake Off, I did toy with the idea of crème brûlée, but then realised I am the only one in the family who likes it. I also pondered a baked cheesecake, but having made a vanilla baked cheesecake not too long ago I then settled on taking inspiration from the Windtorte.
Now all the dessert I ended up making has in common with the Windtorte is that it has layers of meringue, piped meringue decoration on the top, whipped cream and fruit. In other words, yes, a pavlova! For my layered meringue cake I made three layers of meringue, each slightly smaller than the next, piped meringue decorations on and around the top layer in a nod to the GBBO dessert, then layered them up with piped whipped cream and raspberries.
My meringues cracked in places so I need to work on that for next time. They were also only chewy in the very centre so perhaps needed a little less time in the oven. Again, something to look out fo the next time I make large meringues. This was delicious for dessert and is disappearing very quickly.
A showstopping meringue based dessert perfect for entertaining
- 6 egg whites I used the cartons of egg whites you can buy in the supermarket
- Pinch of salt
- 350 g caster sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 400 ml double cream whipped until thick and holds its shape
- 150 g fresh raspberries
- Icing sugar to serve
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Whisk the egg whites with the pinch of salt added to the bowl using a stand mixer, to the soft peak stage.
Add the sugar spoonful by spoonful (I used a dessert spoon) and ensure each spoon of sugar has been fully mixed in before adding the next. Keep whisking until your meringue is smooth (not grainy from the sugar) and glossy.
Add the cornflour and white wine vinegar and whisk again until combined.
On two lined baking trays, draw three circles of 7 inch diameter onto the baking paper, by drawing around a cake tin or similar. Turn the baking paper over so the pencil lines are on the bottom of the paper.
For the bottom meringue layer, spoon one third of the meringue onto one of the circles, covering it fully. Use a palette knife to smooth the top and level the meringue.
For the second layer, spoon another third of the meringue onto the next circle, leaving a border of one centimetre around the edge, so this layer is slightly smaller than the previous one. Smooth and level once more.
For the top layer, use half of the remaining meringue to create the last round meringue, leaving a border of two centimetres around the edge of the circle. Smooth and level again.
Put the remaining meringue into a piping bag topped with a star nozzle and pipe decoration on the outside edge and in the centre of the smallest meringue.
Turn your oven down to 140 degrees and place the baking trays in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until the meringues are just crisp.
Turn the oven off, open the door and leave them to cool in the oven completely.
Whip the double cream just before assembly. Pipe the cream onto the bottom layer, place raspberries into the gaps between the cream, then place the next layer on top. Pipe the cream onto that layer, add raspberries, then place the top layer on top. Pipe cream onto the top layer where not decorated, and add raspberries. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Note: Recipe adapted from this recipe from BBC Food.
For more meringue ideas, take a look at these from fellow food bloggers:
- Coffee meringues from Coffee and Vanilla
- Rhubarb, raspberry and white chocolate pavlova from Maison Cupcake
- Rose and white chocolate meringues from Tin and Thyme
- Pavlotart from Kavey Eats