I had in mind all week that I was going to make a Pavlova. Food of the God's is Pavlova . . . all light and airy and somehow when you are eating it, you kind of are misguided into thinking there are no calories . . . coz it's kind of like eating a cloud, right??? And everyone knows that clouds have no calories!
I normally top my Pavlova with peaches or raspberries, but this today I decided to do something quite, quite different. I had some apples that needed using and I thought to myself . . . how about a Pavlova that has all the elements of an Apple Crumble . . . and then I thought to myself, who not go one step further and make it an Apple and Blackberry Crumble.
Imagine it . . . a soft cloud of crisp on the outside, mallow like on the inside meringue . . . filled with a rich cloud of softly whipped cream . . .
Now . . . top that cloud with a sweet/tart mixture of caramelized and slightly spiced apples mixed with fresh blackberries . . .
Finally . . . top the whole thing with scrummily sugared, flaked and toasted almonds . . . this is genius, pure culinary genius.
Sigh . . . this is the food of the Gods, all light and ethereal . . . and totally calorie free, I am sure of it!!!
Shhhh . . . please don't burst my bubble! Sigh . . . I do so love it when I am inspired to push the boundaries of the traditional and create something totally familiar and at the same time totally new and refreshing!!
*Apple and Blackberry Crumble Pavlova*
All your favourite flavours in one scrummy dessert!
For the Meringue:
3 large free range egg whites
6 ounces caster sugar (a scant cup)
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
For the Filling:
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 TBS butter
2 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 punnet of blackberries (about 1 cup)
300ml of double cream (1 1/4 cups)
For the sugared almond topping:
1 1/2 ounces flaked almonds
2 TBS caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 130*C/260*F/ gas mark 1/2. Trace out a 7 inch circle on a sheet of baking paper. Place the baking paper on top of a baking sheet. Set aside.
Place the egg whites into a clean, grease free, glass or metal bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add half of the sugar and continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. Slowly beat in the remaining sugar (reserving 1 TBS) until it is all amalgamated. Stir the cornflour and remaining sugar together and beat that in along with the vinegar, beating it for about a minute. Spoon the meringue mixture out onto the baking paper, spreading it with a metal spoon to fill the circle and scooping it somewhat hollow in the centre, creating a raised edge all around.
Place iinto the heated oven and bake for about 1 hour, until crisp on the outside and mallow like on the inside. Set aside to cool on the baking tray. Once completely cooled, carefully peel off the baking paper and set the meringue onto a plate.
For the filling, place the apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a small skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally over medium high heat, until the apples are somewhat softened and beginning to caramelize, but still holding their shape. Stir in the blackberries and set aside to cool completely.
Make the sugared almond topping by placing the almonds into a skillet along with the sugar. (Have a sheet of baking paper ready and waiting on the counter.) Cook and stir over medium high heat until the sugar melts and begins to coat the almonds, some 2 to 3 minutes. Take care not to burn the sugar. Remove from the heat immediately and pour the almonds out onto the baking paper, spreading them out as much as you can. Allow to cool completely.
When ready to assemble whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Spoon this into the centre of the meringue. Spoon the apple and blackberry mixture over top along with all their juices. Sprinkle with the candied almonds and serve immediately. Delicious!