Wondering about what to serve for dessert on Christmas Day? Don’t despair if the traditional pav isn’t your thing - this ‘pavlova roll’ is not only quicker (cooking in about ten minutes) but looks really interesting and impressive.
For about 6 servings:
4 large (size 7) egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup (170g) castor sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
about 1 cup (250ml) cream
about 2 cups (about 350g) strawberries and/or other berries
Heat oven to 180°C (or 170°C fanbake) with oven rack just below the middle. Line a sponge roll tin (about 33x23cm) with a Teflon liner or with baking paper.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites in the (fat free) bowl of an electric beater. Add the salt, sugar and vanilla and beat everything together at high speed until the mixture is stiff, and the peaks of meringue stand upright when the beater is lifted from them (about 10 minutes). Spread the mixture evenly over the lined sponge roll tin.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the surface is a light golden brown, the centre feels firm, and the mixture has puffed up. Take care not to overcook, since overcooked rolls shrink excessively.
Take from the oven, and turn upside down onto a sheet of baking paper or another liner which has been wiped over very lightly with soft butter, then sprinkled with caster sugar. Lift away the paper or liner which was on the bottom of the baking tin.
While the meringue cools, whip the chilled cream. When the meringue is cool, spread most of the upper surface (the inside of the roll) with half the stiffly whipped, cold cream leaving a 5cm strip at one edge uncovered (this will be the join). We usually roll the meringue up, starting from a short side, forming a short, fat roll, but you can make a long thin roll. Cover the cream with sliced strawberries and/or other fruit, then roll up, using the paper/Teflon under the cake to help you.
Place the roll, join down, on a rectangular plate or board. Spread the remaining cream over the top, then decorate with strawberries and/or other fruit. To serve, cut slices with a thin, sharp or serrated knife.
Photography: Lindsay Keats