A low calorie look at life, writing and cake.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Valentine Pavlova and a diabolically delicious filling!


To celebrate the launch of Lynda Renham's latest romantic comedy novel,  ‘The Valentine Present and Other Diabolical Liberties,’ I have created a delicious, heart-shaped dessert. Not only is this a fitting celebration meringue for a fabulous new book - it also includes at least one of your five a day and is around a mere 300 calories a slice!
The Valentine Pavlova and a diabolically delicious filling!
For the topping:
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C) .

Measure the sugar and put aside, now put the egg whites in a large clean bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks. Stop! Before you set off, don’t get too whisk-happy because over-whisking will cause a major collapse! Girl, just keep whisking and checking until you can turn that bowl upside down without the snowy white fluff sliding out.

When the egg whites are at ‘upside down stage’ - whisk in the sugar slowly a large tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until all the sugar is incorporated. Now take a metal tablespoon and spoon the meringue mixture on to the prepared baking sheet, forming a heart-shape (you can draw this on your greaseproof paper or simply just think of the one you love as you dollop). 

Now using the tip of a skewer, make little swirls in the meringue all round the edge, lifting the skewer up sharply each time to leave tiny peaks. This will look like you know what you’re doing – even if you don’t! Then  place the baking sheet in the oven, immediately turn down the heat to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C) and leave it to cook for 1 hour.

While it’s cooking, take out your copy of ‘The Valentine Present and Other Diabolical Liberties’ (on kindle or paperback) and read about lovely Harriet,
a cocktail of misunderstandings, three unlikely gangsters, a monkey and a demented cat. After an hour of laughing hysterically at the book you mustn’t forget to turn the oven off, but leave the Pavlova inside the oven until it's completely cold. You could even bake this the night before, take the book to bed and allow the meringue to completely cool overnight in the oven (you won’t be able to put the book down so will be up all night too).

Delia Smith says the secret of successful meringues of any sort is to let them dry out completely, which is what this method (stolen from Delia) does perfectly.

To serve the Pavlova, put the book down and lift it from the baking sheet, peel off the paper and place it on a serving dish. Then just before serving, spread the whipped cream on top, arrange the fruit on top of the cream and dust with a little sifted icing sugar.

Put the kettle on, serve cut into wedges and carry on reading ‘The Valentine Present...’ .

Delia says this recipe serves 6, but I’m greedier and my heart-shaped Pavlova serves 5 (and 3 of those are probably for me!)

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