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Summer pavlova

This spectacular creation is the perfect dessert for a summer celebration, although you can make it in winter with frozen berries if fresh ones are not available. Calories per serving: 170

ingredients

serves 10
4 large egg whites
200 g (7 oz) caster sugar
200 ml (7 fl oz) whipping cream
225 g (8 oz) strawberries, sliced
225 g (8 oz) raspberries
strawberry leaves or mint leaves,
to decorate

method

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 1/ 140°C/fan oven 120°C. Line a large baking sheet with non stick baking parchment and draw a 25 cm (10 inch) circle on it.

2. In a large grease free bowl and using a hand held electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until they hold their shape. Gradually add the sugar, whisking well, until the egg whites are very stiff and glossy.

3. Spread the meringue in an even layer over the marked out circle. Bake for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. Remember that the meringue is dried out, rather than cooked, at this low temperature so an exact cooking time isn't necessary. It's a good idea to keep the oven door open just a fraction to get the best possible meringue.

4. Remove the meringue from the oven. Cool it completely and then carefully peel away the baking parchment.

5. When ready to serve, whip the cream until it holds its shape. Pile it on to the meringue and top with the strawberries and raspberries. Decorate with strawberry or mint leaves.

Top tip You can make the meringue base at least a week before you need it. It will store well, either in an airtight tin or wrapped in greaseproof paper.
Variation For a tropical fruit version, use 2 kiwi fruits, 1 medium mango and the juice and pulp from 2 passion fruits.

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