A make-ahead berry pavlova

When you’re playing host for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to have a few recipes under your belt that you can make in advance so you’re not spending all your time in the kitchen the next day. This berry pavlova is just such a dish, and is one of our go-tos for spring and summer gatherings. If you’re making it the night before, follow steps one–four, then continue with step five just before you serve. You can also use whatever berries are in season or, if you’re making it in early spring, thawed frozen ones from last summer.


Makes enough for six (with extra for seconds)
Put aside: about 50 minutes for prep and an hour for cooking

What you'll need 

  • 6 large free-range egg whites
  • 300g caster sugar
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 400g berries fresh or thawed
  • 200ml double cream
  • 200ml natural yogurt (fat-free works fine)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod seeds removed
  • 1-2 drops of pink food colouring
  • A scattering of fresh mint leaves

What to do

  1. Preheat your oven to 150⁰C/gas mark two. Crack the egg whites into a clean bowl and get whisking. You’re looking for firm peaks. 
  2. Keep whisking while adding the caster sugar and a sprinkling of salt, bit by bit. Then, turn your mixer up to the highest setting (if you don’t have a mixer, you’ll need to whisk with all your might) for seven minutes or so until you have a meringue mixture. It should be bright white and glossy. 
  3. Scoop out a quarter of the mixture into a separate bowl and very carefully add a drop of pink food colouring. Use a knife to lightly swirl the colour through the meringue, creating a marbled effect rather than changing the colour completely. 
  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Draw out a circle that’s 20cm in diameter to act as your guide and then several smaller circles between 5–10cm on the other. On the larger circle, spread the plain white meringue mixture evenly then add more around the edges so you have a well in the middle. For the mini meringues, use a piping bag with a medium-size star nozzle to pipe three-four little, pink-marbled meringues to use for decoration. (If you don’t have a piping bag, you could also simply spoon them in place.) Bake for an hour until the meringues are ever-so-slightly golden, taking the smaller ones out as soon as they look ready. 
  5. Now the fun part. Any combination of berries works here, and you can stick to one sort or have a mixture. The cream flavouring is entirely up to you too. We chose classic raspberries with vanilla and mint but the delicate notes of orange blossom or rosewater would work well too. 
  6. Whip the cream with the sugar until you get soft peaks. Then stir in the yoghurt slowly along with the vanilla seeds. Spoon your creamy mixture into the well you created in the larger meringue and dot with raspberries. Perch the mini meringues on top at different angles before adding the final few raspberries and dusting with icing sugar. 
  7. Rest on a cake stand and bring it to the table as it is, or scatter a few mint leaves on top.
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