Pistachio pavlovas with boozy cherries
Serves 8 | prep 35 mins | total time
Pistachio pavlovas with boozy cherriesSubscribe to Sainsbury's magazine
Serves 8 | prep 35 mins | total time
Nutritional information (per serving)
For the pistachio pavlova bases
- 300g caster sugar
- 150g fresh egg whites (about 4 large egg whites)
- 2 tbsp pistachio kernels
- a few drops of green food gel or colouring
For the pistachio caramel shards
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
For the toppings
- 200g fresh cherries
- 3 tbsp kirsch (or brandy)
- 50g dried cherries
- 1 x 600ml carton double cream
- 50g pomegranate seeds
- golden glitter spray (we used Cake Décor)
Make the pistachio caramel up to 2 days ahead; store at room temperature in an airtight container. Soak the cherries up to a few hours ahead. Assemble and decorate just before serving.
- Preheat your oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 7. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Using a 10cm round biscuit cutter or chef's ring, draw 4 circles (spaced well apart) on each piece of paper. Turn over the paper (you should still be able to see the circle templates) and set aside. Line a small roasting tin with baking paper, pour in the caster sugar and heat it in the oven for 7 minutes. Heating the sugar helps to create a glossy, stable mixture.
- Pour the egg whites into a free-standing mixer (or use a large clean bowl and an electric hand-whisk) and whisk them slowly at first, allowing small stabilising bubbles to form, then increase the speed until they form stiff peaks.
- Take the sugar out of the oven, then turn down the oven to 120°C, fan 100°C, gas ½. With your mixer on full speed, very slowly spoon the hot sugar, a spoonful at a time, into the beaten egg whites, making sure that the mixture comes back up to stiff peaks after each addition. Once you have added all the sugar, continue to whisk on full speed for at least 5 minutes until you have a smooth, stiff and glossy mixture. Rub a bit of the mixture between your fingers; if you can still feel the gritty sugar, keep whisking at full speed until it has dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
- Whiz half the pistachios in a mini processor until finely ground, then gently fold them into the meringue mixture. Pile your flavoured meringue into 8 heaps on the prepared baking trays, using the circle templates as a guide, forming each one into a spiky heaped circle with a dip in the centre. Use a cocktail stick to swirl a little food colouring into each meringue. Finely chop the remaining pistachios and sprinkle over the pavlovas.
- Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the bases of the meringues come off the baking paper cleanly. If you are not sure they are done, turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside the oven as they cool.
- For the pistachio caramel, line a small baking tray with baking paper. Gently melt the sugar in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat until it dissolves, then leave it over a low heat until it turns into a light caramel liquid. Don't stir, just shake the pan to get the mixture to come together.
- Pour the caramel over the baking-paper lined tray, holding the tray at an angle to thin out the caramel, then immediately sprinkle with the pistachios and leave to harden at room temperature. Once hard, break into shards.
- Set aside 8 cherries for decoration. Halve and stone the remainder and put in a bowl. Add the kirsch and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes. Strain the cherries, then stir in the dried cherries. If you like, you can drizzle the drained kirsch over the finished meringues, but they should have quite a boozy flavour even without this.
- When you are ready to serve, whip the double cream in a large clean bowl until it just forms soft peaks. Spoon the cream generously onto the centre of each pavlova base and decorate with the boozy cherry mixture, pomegranate seeds and a few shards of pistachio caramel. Top each pavlova with a whole cherry and spray lightly with gold glitter spray to finish.