This sweet and citrussy pavlova recipe from Benjamina Ebuehi’s new book A Good Day To Bake makes for a simply delicious summery pud
IMAGE: LAURA EDWARDS
I couldn’t imagine life without pavlova. As one of my most-loved desserts, it makes regular appearances all year round and I simply switch up the topping to make use of what’s in season. This blueberry and lemongrass number has become a popular one, with its perfumed, citrussy aroma filling the kitchen as the compote bubbles away. The smell of sunshine. You can let the lemongrass sit in the blueberries overnight, if you prefer a more strongly fragranced flavour.
Blueberry & Lemongrass Pavlova
For the meringue
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 145 g egg whites
- 275 g caster superfine sugar
- 1 tbsp cornflour cornstarch
For the filling
- 3 sticks of lemongrass
- 300 g blueberries fresh or frozen
- 50 g caster granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- 500 ml double heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 120C (100C fan/250F/gas mark 1/2). Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
- Start by making the meringue. Wipe the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a paper towel soaked in the lemon juice. This helps to remove any traces of grease that may be in the bowl. Add the egg whites to the bowl and whisk on medium speed until thick and foamy with soft peaks. Increase the mixer to high speed and add the sugar, one heaped tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Once all the sugar has been added, continue whisking for another 2–3 minutes until the meringue is thick and glossy. Rub a little bit of the mixture between your fingertips – you shouldn’t feel grains of sugar, but keep whipping if you do. Add the cornflour and whip briefly to combine.
- Spoon the meringue into 6 mounds on the baking sheets. Use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to smooth the edges and make a dip in the middle for where the filling will sit later. Bake the meringues for 35–40 minutes until they are firm to the touch and easily peel away from the paper. Leave them in the oven to cool completely for a few hours or overnight.
- To make the filling, wash and remove any dried outer layers from the lemongrass and use the end of a rolling pin to bash and bruise the stalks and release some of the aromatic oils. Tie them together with a piece of clean string. This will help you fish it out later.
- Add the lemongrass to a pan with the blueberries, sugar and water. Bring to the boil, then let simmer for 4–6 minutes until the blueberries have softened and are syrupy. Let the mixture cool completely with the lemongrass still inside. You can make this up to 2 days in advance and store in the refrigerator. Just remove the lemongrass when you’re ready to assemble.
- Just before serving, whip the cream and vanilla together until just before you get stiff peaks. I like to do this by hand as it’s easy to overwhip with an electric whisk. Spoon the cream onto the meringue shells and top with blueberry filling. Serve immediately.
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