We're huge rugby fans in our household, it's kind of expected in NZ where we're from, and we are loving watching all the Rugby World Cup games. It's like total rugby overload in our house, and my poor husband, who is not as enthusiastic about the sport as the rest of us, has been very tolerant of our need to watch every game and shout at the TV rather a lot.
I was delighted to be asked by Tesco to cook a NZ recipe as part of their Celebrate the Nations campaign to celebrate the Rugby World Cup. I asked my family what I should cook and they unanimously shouted "Pavlova, of course!" so that's what I baked. It was delicious and as soon as the photographs were taken there was a stampede of hungry family towards the pav, similar to an All Black scrum.
I made two pavlovas but one cracked so instead of a double layer pavlova I created a single layer, coated with plain/dark chocolate (so it wouldn't get soggy all covered in cream and sitting around being photographed) and a double layer Eton mess with blackberries on top, separated by a layer of kiwi fruit, and topped with more blackberries.
This recipe makes one pavlova 25cm/10 inches in diameter
220g/1 cup caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp wine vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 large or 4 medium free range egg whites
I use my stand mixer to make a pav, sometimes I use my hand held electric beaters but find it much easier in the stand mixer. Make sure the bowl and beater is completely spotless because any trace of grease will stop the eggs from beating and aerating well.
Measure the caster sugar, cornflour, salt, vinegar and vanilla in to the bowl and then add the egg whites. Make sure there is absolutely no yolk at all in the mixture as this will stop the egg whites from beating up well.
Beat all the ingredients at high speed for about 15 minutes, until a thick meringue forms. Make sure the mixture is not gritty and that all the sugar has dissolved. When you lift out the beater blades, the meringue should form peaks that stand up stiffly.
Draw a circle 25cm/10 inches in diameter on a piece of non-stick baking paper large enough to line your oven tray. Turn the baking paper over and secure it to the tray using a little meringue dotted under each corner. Pile the mixture onto the circle on the baking paper and smooth the surface. If you have the time or inclination you could pipe the mixture into the circle.
Bake in a preheated oven at 100C/90C Fan for 60 - 70 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven for another half an hour. Take the pavlova out of the oven. Leave for an hour then top and fill as you wish.
Phil Vickery, ex England rugby player and 2011 Celebrity Master Chef winner has also created a delicious recipe for Pork, Pinto Bean and Sweet Potato Stew.
You can find the delicious Tesco #CelebrateTheNations Pork Stew recipe here.
Has my dish, or Phil's dish inspired you? Why not create your own culinary masterpiece and #CelebrateTheNations this Autumn! For more ideas and inspiration, visit realfood.tesco.com/celebratethenations.html
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