Stone fruit is at its height just now. Sweet, fragrant flat peaches pair perfectly with aromatic elderflower and zesty lemon in this late Summer peach and elderflower pavlova. If you can’t get your hands on peaches, strawberries are delicious too. This meringue is the fluffiest I’ve ever made; it takes time but requires little attention. Baking the eggs low and slow results in a crispy exterior and light, pillowy middle. To make the meringue, you will need:
4 egg whites
200 g (7oz) unrefined caster sugar
For the topping:
400 ml (14 fl oz) double cream
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp elderflower cordial
1 – 2 flat peaches, cut into slices
A few edible flower heads, to decorate.
Heat the oven to 120C/100C fan/235F/Gas mark 1. First, make the meringue. Place the egg whites in a large, clean bowl. Whisk with a hand-held electric whisk until they form and hold soft peaks. (You can do this in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, if you prefer.)
Keeping the whisk running, add 1 large spoonful of sugar at a time, until all the sugar is incorporated. Continue to whisk for a further 6–8 minutes, until the meringue is thick, pale, smooth and glossy.
Line a large baking tray. Spoon the meringue onto the parchment, trying to make a large disc with slightly peaked edges – it doesn’t have to be perfect. Bake the meringue in the oven for 25–30 minutes, then turn down the heat to 110C/90C fan/225F/Gas mark ½ and bake for a further 2 hours, until the meringue has formed a crisp shell. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. (If you’re not using the meringue straight away, store it in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)
When you’re ready to serve the meringue, pour the cream into a large bowl and add half the lemon juice and half the zest and 2 tablespoons of the cordial. Whisk until the cream is thick enough to just hold soft peaks.
Place the peach slices in a bowl with the remaining lemon juice and the remaining cordial. Gently turn them to coat.
Spoon the cream onto the meringue, top with the peach and decorate with edible flowers.
Recipe adapted from Gill Meller’s Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower.