SIBA’S TROPICAL PAVLOVA

This is such a delightful dessert and relatively easy to make because all you need to bake is the meringue base. My inspiration for it came from the flavours of an Eton mess. However, I wanted a more dramatic version of it and one I could serve as a centrepiece, rather than individual servings. This was the fabulous result.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 MIN

BAKING TIME: 1.5 HRS

SERVES 8

6 egg whites

2ml cream of tartar

500ml caster sugar

A few drops of pink or red

colouring (optional)

FILLING

2 x 250g tubs plain cream cheese, room temperature

60ml caster sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

5ml vanilla extract

250ml cream, whipped

SERVE WITH

2–4 mangoes, peeled and cubed

500ml mango sorbet

500ml passion fruit sorbet

50g pistachio nuts, chopped

8 granadillas, pulp scooped out

A few mint leaves, to garnish

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 120°C and lightly grease and line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Trace the outline of a dinner plate in the middle of the baking paper, about 25cm in diameter. In a large clean glass bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric beater, until frothy, and add the cream of tartar, beating until soft peaks form.

Add 30ml of sugar at a time, beating after each addition until all the sugar has been used and the mixture is thick and glossy with firm white peaks. This takes about 10 minutes or so. Stir in a few drops of colouring, if using.

Transfer the meringue to the baking sheet using a spatula and spread it, using the marked circle as a guide. Create a bit of a well or indent in the centre for the filling.

Bake in the oven for between 1 hour 20 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes, until crispy on the outside but still soft inside. Allow to cool down completely.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice until combined. Stir in the vanilla extract and fold in the cream.

Once the meringue has cooled down completely, assemble the pavlova by placing the meringue on a serving platter and topping it with the cream cheese mixture, mango, sorbet scoops, pistachio nuts and granadilla pulp. Garnish with the mint leaves and serve immediately.

Siba’s tip…

When separating the eggs, make sure there isn’t even a drop of egg yolk or fat in the egg white, as that will prevent it from fluffing up when whisked. Also be sure to use a squeaky clean glass bowl. Meringues are best cooked at low temperature for a long period of time so they can become crispy on the outside without browning.

Siba Mtongana is a passionate and dynamic local celebrity chef and food enthusiast who brought style and charisma to the South Africa television food scene. All recipes are courtesy of her popular book, Welcome to My Table.

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