Jenny's Festive Favourites

Poached winter fruits & a nutty Hazelnut Pavlova

One added ingredient that we’re proud to offer here in Mid and East Antrim, is warm hospitality, often accompanied by a chat and steamy pot of tea.  Whether you are celebrating with friends or family this Christmas, why not produce this seasonal surprise from the fridge… they are sure to come back for more!

Recipe and Method:

Jenny Bristow's Hazelnut Pavlova

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

Meringue
3 large egg whites, Jenny uses Ballygarvey Big Ones
125g (5oz) caster sugar
25g (1oz) soft brown sugar
1 level tsp. cornflour
1 tsp. white vinegar
½ tsp. vanilla essence
50 g (2oz) chopped hazel nuts (or cobnuts as they are known here!)
280 ml low fat natural yoghurt or fromage frais
340g assorted fresh fruits, sliced
Jenny Bristow's Hazelnut PavlovaPoached fruits
275ml (½ pt) water
50g (2oz) granulated sugar
1 Cinnamon Stick
200g (8oz) plums
2 ripe pears
100g (4oz) of blackberries or a mix of seasonal berries picked from the hedgerows
2 bay leaves
Sprinkling of Port or Elderberry cordial

Method

Meringue – make the night before:

  1. Line a baking sheet with lightly greased greaseproof paper. Into a large, clean, dry bowl add the separated egg whites ensuring there is no trace of egg yolk. Beat the whites using a hand whisk until the mixture is stiff and forms peaks.
  2. Next add the sugar, folding gently, approximately 30g at a time.  A long, slow and very gentle addition of the sugar is very important, folding well between each addition.
  3. Finally, fold in the nuts, corn flour, vinegar and vanilla essence.
  4. Pipe or pile the meringue onto a drawn circle on the baking sheet  approximately 20cm.
  5. Ensure the oven is preheated at 140 degrees C and 5 minutes after you put the pavlova mixture in the oven, turn the temperature down to 120C. Bake for 1 ¼ - 1 ½ hours.
  6. Cook until pale brown and dry, although a little soft in the centre. If possible turn off the oven when cooked and allow the pavlova to remain in the oven overnight to avoid sinking in the middle.
  7. When cooled, peel off paper, place on a serving dish. At this stage the meringue will probably crack and sink a little.
  8. Layer on the natural yoghurt or fromage frais and get ready to decorate.

Poached fruits – make ahead

  1. Place the water, sugar and cinnamon stick in a saucepan and bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar
  2. Cut the plums in half, remove the stones, peel and core the pears.
  3. Add the plums & pears to the saucepan and poach very gently over a low heat until they show signs of softening.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
  4. Add the berries and Port or Elderberry cordial.
  5. Reduce the liquid and allow to cool, before spooning the mixture over your pavlova.
  6. Put on the tea pot and serve with some local artisan Camran mallows.