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Rose and Pepper Pavlova with Passionfruit and Strawberries

by . Featured in AT MY TABLE
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Introduction

The flavours sound so bold here and yet taste so delicate. My maternal grandfather used to eat strawberries with a grinding of black pepper; he insisted it made their berried freshness sing. I prefer to add it to the pavlova base, pairing its perfumed warmth with some rosewater, giving the marshmallow-bellied meringue the huskiest hint of Turkish delight.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

The flavours sound so bold here and yet taste so delicate. My maternal grandfather used to eat strawberries with a grinding of black pepper; he insisted it made their berried freshness sing. I prefer to add it to the pavlova base, pairing its perfumed warmth with some rosewater, giving the marshmallow-bellied meringue the huskiest hint of Turkish delight.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Rose and Black Pepper Pavlova
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 8-12

Metric Cups

For the base:

  • 6 large eggs (at room temperature, whites only)
  • 375 grams caster sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons cornflour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon rosewater

For the topping:

  • 300 grams strawberries
  • 3 passionfruit
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 300 millilitres double cream

For the base:

  • 6 large eggs (at room temperature, whites only)
  • 1¾ cups superfine sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon rosewater

For the topping:

  • 10 ounces strawberries
  • 3 passionfruit
  • 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. In a grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Be patient: it takes a little time to thicken glossily.
  3. Sprinkle the cornflour, pepper, vinegar and rosewater over the meringue, then, by hand, gently fold everything until it is thoroughly mixed in. Mound onto the lined baking sheet in a fat disc approximately 22cm/9inch in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/130°C Fan/300°F and bake for 1 hour.
  4. Take out of the oven and leave to cool, but do not leave anywhere cold as this will make it crack too dramatically. You’ll always get some cracks though, so don’t fret. If you think your kitchen is too cold, then drape the pavlova base loosely with a clean tea towel.
  5. When the meringue is completely cold and you’re ready to eat, turn the pavlova base onto a large flat plate with the underside uppermost.
  6. Hull each strawberry and cut, from hulled end to the tip, to make 3 slices, putting them into a shallow bowl as you go. Cut the passionfruit into halves then, using a small sieve over a jug or bowl, spoon the juice and seeds into the sieve, pressing all the juice out into the jug. Discard the seeds, then pour the juice over the strawberries and sprinkle with the caster sugar, leaving them to macerate while you get on with the cream.
  7. Whip the cream until thick and airy but still soft, and spread on top of the pavlova base in a swirly-mound, working all the way to the edges so that it is evenly covered.
  8. Spoon the shiny strawberries in their juice over the top – the swirls of cream will catch some of the golden yellow of the passionfruit – and bear proudly aloft to the table.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. In a grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Be patient: it takes a little time to thicken glossily.
  3. Sprinkle the cornstarch, pepper, vinegar and rosewater over the meringue, then, by hand, gently fold everything until it is thoroughly mixed in. Mound onto the lined baking sheet in a fat disc approximately 22cm/9inch in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/130°C Fan/300°F and bake for 1 hour.
  4. Take out of the oven and leave to cool, but do not leave anywhere cold as this will make it crack too dramatically. You’ll always get some cracks though, so don’t fret. If you think your kitchen is too cold, then drape the pavlova base loosely with a clean tea towel.
  5. When the meringue is completely cold and you’re ready to eat, turn the pavlova base onto a large flat plate with the underside uppermost.
  6. Hull each strawberry and cut, from hulled end to the tip, to make 3 slices, putting them into a shallow bowl as you go. Cut the passionfruit into halves then, using a small sieve over a jug or bowl, spoon the juice and seeds into the sieve, pressing all the juice out into the jug. Discard the seeds, then pour the juice over the strawberries and sprinkle with the superfine sugar, leaving them to macerate while you get on with the cream.
  7. Whip the cream until thick and airy but still soft, and spread on top of the pavlova base in a swirly-mound, working all the way to the edges so that it is evenly covered.
  8. Spoon the shiny strawberries in their juice over the top – the swirls of cream will catch some of the golden yellow of the passionfruit – and bear proudly aloft to the table.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
The meringue base can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container in a cool, dry place (meringue will not keep well in humid or wet weather). Refrigerate leftovers, loosely covered with cling film, for up to 1 day. The meringue will soften as it stands.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
The meringue base can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container in a cool, dry place (meringue will not keep well in humid or wet weather). Refrigerate leftovers, loosely covered with cling film, for up to 1 day. The meringue will soften as it stands.

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What 8 Others have said

  • Delicious. Instead of the cream filling I mixed a 250g tub of marscapone with 200g of fromage frais and a tablespoon of sugar. This was amazing.

    Posted by DianaMontignacFrance on 5th June 2019
  • Hi AOW Canuck- not sure where you are living but in Vancouver we know what passion fruit is. It is at least available in tins at the large supermarkets, and probably fresh at some Asian green grocers. Never heard it called natural viagra but I have heard Puerto Vallarta called Puerto Viagra!

    Posted by vjlb on 27th May 2018
  • Any tips on making this at high altitude? Say 7,000 ft?

    Posted by ctipworth on 27th May 2018
  • I think in Canada they might call passionfruit, sweet granadilla? See if that helps.

    Posted by RebLT on 27th May 2018
  • Amazing and all went perfectly to plan until I wanted passionfruit! As an australian living in Canada I was stunned to find out that Canadians have no idea what passionfruit is! One shopkeeper thought I wanted "natural viagra"! Nigella, Canada needs you desperately!

    Posted by AOWCanuck on 15th April 2018
  • Amazing recipe!!! Pavlova was very tasty and everyone said: this is my new favorite dessert!

    Posted by evaggeliagr on 3rd April 2018
  • Loved this , also tried it with half the vinegar and made up the liquid quantity required with organic apple juice- great for my friend who does not like vinegar.

    Posted by Petainfrance on 9th December 2017
  • Made the pavlova last week. Really fresh and sweet. Ws a bit afraid of the rose taste, but it was just perfect.

    Posted by Patries on 3rd December 2017
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