Thursday, 9 July 2015

Pavlova with Blackberry Bay Compote



Back in March, my Dad was told he needed major, life-saving surgery. It was a big one. The chances of him surviving the operation and the days after weren't great, but the alternative was even worse, so he signed the consent form and agreed to this long and difficult procedure. The day before he went into hospital, he took a walk to the stand of natural bush behind his property and spent hours picking tiny wild blackberries. Later that day, he showed up at my house, covered in scratches and blackberry juice with a bucket of little black jewels. I put them in the freezer in the hope that one day we would all sit down to his favourite dessert of pavlova and enjoy them together. That day arrived yesterday, his birthday. I love happy endings.

Pavlova with Blackberry Bay Compote
slightly adapted from here

For the Pavlova:
1/2 lemon, for cleaning the bowl you'll whip your egg whites in
6 egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
340g caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon white vinegar
300ml cream, whipped to soft peaks to serve
Icing sugar, to serve

For the Compote:
1 cup frozen (or fresh) blackberries
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (you'll need the seeds and the pod)
1 fresh bay leaf
1/3 cup honey

Make the Pavlova:
Take the cut side of the lemon and rub the inside of the bowl to your electric mixer. This cleans the bowl of any residual grease (grease is the enemy of meringue). Discard the lemon.

Preheat the oven to 180C. 

Place the egg whites and a pinch of salt into the bowl and beat on high speed until firm peaks form. While the mixer is still running, add the sugar one tablespoonful at a time. Once all the sugar is incorporated, mix at high speed for 10 minutes. The meringue should be thick and glossy.

Keep the mixer going and add the cornflour and vinegar. Mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Draw a 16cm circle onto a piece of baking paper. Turn the paper over (so that you don't get pencil/pen marks on your meringue). Dollop a teaspoon of meringue mixture onto the corners of a large baking sheet and stick the paper onto it (this will stop the paper from moving around when you spoon the meringue on). Spoon the meringue mixture onto the paper, using the circle as a guide. Pile it up and swirl the top.

Bake for 5 minutes at 180C, then lower the temperature to 130C and bake for a further hour. Turn the oven off and allow the meringue to cool in the oven for a few hours. Once cooled, remove to a serving plate.

Make the Compote:
Put all the compote ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until syrupy. Set aside to cool completely.

Pile the whipped cream on top of the meringue. Spoon the compote over letting the juices drip down the sides, and sprinkle with icing sugar.


  1. I am so glad to hear your Dad is doing well. I'm sure that this dessert was all the sweeter with everyone around the table enjoying it. Happy birthday papa milk and honey. Here's to many more meringues and blackberry harvests x

  2. Such good news! So happy to hear this! xx

  3. What a perfect summer dessert! I'm so happy to hear your dad is ok too!! :)

  4. Wow, that is so incredible!! I'm so happy for you Jen :) Your dad is a survivor, wow! This pavlova represents more than just a dessert, I love those stories :)