Black Cherry Pavlova
This is honestly one of the best things I’ve made recently! I ate so much of it that I sort of made myself sick. It’s actually worth making yourself sick for! For the maximum flavour it can only really be eaten in the summer months when the British cherries are bursting full of flavour and they are this stunning dark red colour. I’m a chocolate girl through and through but I will definitely make an exception for this. I have used coconut cream here but you can easily swap this for the classic whipped double cream if you wanted. You can make all of this the night before and just assemble for when you need. Store the meringue carefully in a dry place covered in cling film. Dive right in!!!
for the meringue
150ml egg whites at room temperature (about 5 medium eggs)
160g unrefined icing sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
For the coconut cream
600ml coconut cream (about 8 tins at 160ml that have been in the fridge for a few hours or better yet overnight)
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
2-3 tbsp unrefined icing sugar
For the cherry compote
600g fresh cherries, 500g halved and deseeded
2 tbsp unrefined caster sugar
zest and juice of half a lemon
skins from the leftover vanilla pods
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp amaretto/Grand Marnier liquor
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Add the egg whites to an electric mixer or handheld whisk and whip to form stiff peaks. This should take about 5 minutes. Keep mixing and add a tablespoon at a time of the icing sugar and allow each spoonful to blend in before adding another. Once all the sugar is added mix in the vanilla seeds and continue beating the whites for an extra 3 minutes. The meringues should be thick, shiny and hold together quite firmly. Use a spatula to spoon everything into the baking tray and gently create nice waves to form a 11-12inch circle or something as big as your serving platter. Place this into the middle of the oven and turn it down to 120 and bake for about 2 hours. The meringue should have risen and be a brilliant white colour and now turn off the oven to leave inside to continue to dry out for at least another 30 minutes.
While the meringue bakes finish the rest of the pavlova. Begin making the whipped coconut cream by taking the tins out of the fridge keeping them upright (if you haven't done this you can put them in the freezer for 30 minutes but put a timer on). Scoop the cream off the top of each tin avoiding any of the coconut water and place into a bowl adding in the icing sugar and vanilla seeds. Whip until light and fluffy which should take about 2 minutes. Store this in the fridge until needed. It keeps for about 4 days.
Add the cherry halves into a saucepan and set to a medium to high heat. Add the lemon’s zest, juice, vanilla pod skins, sugar (you can add more if the cherries are not too sweet), vanilla extract and simmer everything together for about 5 minutes. Next add the liquor and stir everything together before scraping into a bowl and leaving to cool.
Assemble everything together just before serving. Carefully use two knives to remove the meringue from the baking paper and onto a large flat serving platter. Spoon the whipped coconut cream all over the meringue and then top with the cherries and the cooking syrup. Finish with the leftover whole cherries and add a light dusting of icing sugar.
Now eat the whole thing!