The creation of this rather epic tower of dessert splendour is entirely thanks to the recent thrilling, once-in-a-blue-moon special on raspberries at my local grocery store.
Why the hyper enthusiasm, you ask?
Raspberries sold here in Perth are normally ridiculously expensive. And I’m not just referring to out-of-season prices. A small, sparsely-filled punnet of fresh raspberries will generally set you back $12.99AUD, making them the fruity equivalent of an Aston Martin (or Louboutin heels, for the fashion-aware amongst us).
One of my best memories from my trip to Wales last year was being able to buy a heaving punnet of luscious, ruby-coloured fruit for a mere £2 and feast on them as often as I liked.
So it was indeed a show-stopping (or rather, screeching trolley-stopping) moment when I saw the large cardboard sign advertising them for only $6.95AUD!
Yes, they were still priced in the ‘luxury range’ as far as berries go but there was no way I was going to pass this up, so I bought two punnets on the spot.
Given the rarity of the occasion, I wanted to feature them on the blog – still in fresh form – to make the most of their vibrancy and flavour. What better way to do so than with layers of air-light meringue, creamy and indulgent mascarpone, bursts of lemon zest, and lashings of vivid red raspberry coulis?
(Postscript – I may have caved and eaten the original two punnets’ worth in one sitting. Which subsequently required replacement punnets to be purchased. At the regular price. So sue me…)
pavlova cake with lemon mascarpone
& raspberry coulis
meringue (based on nigella lawson’s recipe)
8 egg whites
2 ½ cups castor sugar
4 tbsp cornflour
2 tsp white vinegar
1 cup pouring cream
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
about 3 cups frozen raspberries
1 cup water
¼ cup castor sugar
2 handfuls fresh raspberries
icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line four baking trays with baking paper.
Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until firm peaks form. Gently add in the sugar, spoonful after spoonful, still beating, until the meringue mixture is stiff and satiny.
Sprinkle the cornflour and vinegar on top of the mixture and fold in lightly with a metal spoon until combined.
On each paper-lined baking tray, draw a circle of approximately 20cm (using a cake pan of the same diameter works a treat).
Pipe meringue disks onto each of the four sheets of baking paper, following the circle templates, and smoothing over the top to ensure as even a surface as possible.
Place the trays into the oven oven (you may need to bake them in batches if they don’t all fit at once) and immediately turn the heat down to 120°C. Bake for 30 minutes or until the meringues are just cooked.
Turn the oven off and leave the door closed for about 30 minutes, to ensure that the surface of the meringue become crispy but the centres remain soft and fluffy.
After 30 minutes, transfer them on their baking paper to wire racks to finish cooling.
Meanwhile, you can prepare the raspberry coulis.
Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture starts to bubble.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the berries have broken down and the mixture thickens to a jammy consistency.
Remove from the heat and pour through a sieve into a clean bowl. Using the back of a spoon or spatula, work the raspberry mixture through the sieve until only the seeds remain and you’ve collected about a cup of smooth coulis.
Discard the seeds and set aside the coulis to bring to room temperature.
For the lemon mascarpone filling, beat the cream and mascarpone in an electric mixer until you have a light, airy consistency and soft peaks begin to form. Don’t over-beat!
Lightly fold in the finely grated lemon zest and refrigerate until required.
Right – now it’s time to combine all the elements!
Carefully remove the sheet of baking paper from the first meringue disk and place on a serving platter.
Use a spatula to spread an even layer of lemon mascarpone on top of the meringue and lightly drizzle raspberry coulis over the surface in a criss-cross fashion.
Repeat with the second and third layers, finishing by placing the final meringue disk on top.
Drizzle generously with raspberry coulis so that it cascades over the sides of the pavlova cake, top with fresh raspberries and finally, a dusting of icing sugar.