Criminally Decadent Coffee, Walnut and Caramel Pavlova
So, I know I mention this in the About Me section of this blog but part of the reason I love to cook and love to entertain with dinner parties and cocktails is because of my lovely mama. I remember watching her cook from quite a young age and it definitely inspired me to learn my way around a kitchen. As yesterday was Mother’s Day, and I believe in homemade gifts, I decided a part of paying homage to my mummy and nanna would be cooking up a tasty dinner. My Mama requested the Drunken Cow Casserole, as it seems to be a particular favourite in this house, and wanted a coffee/walnut pavlova for dessert. And, yes, I did bake a coffee and walnut cake for her birthday too – what can I say, she has particular tastes!
It isn’t so rare in my house for us all to gather around the dinner table at least twice a week but I think it’s so important that we remember to take that time, to enjoy one another’s company, to laugh and share thoughts and feelings. For me, Mother’s Day – like Valentine’s and Father’s Day – isn’t about spending all of your pennies, or buying generic presents, it’s about remembering how much and why you love someone: It’s about celebrating just being with them. Heck, it’s about baking the most ginormous pavlova that’s ever lived and enjoying the crunchy, chewy, sweet magnificence of coffee meringue, lashings of whipped cream and caramel-coated roasted walnuts.
Honestly, this recipe was divine; absolutely sinfully decadent and a danger to waistlines everywhere but terribly good for the soul once in a while.
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
A pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp instant coffee mixed with 2-3 tsp water (you don’t want this runny, it has to be a thick and syrupy consistency)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
500ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
100g chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 150.
- Put six egg whites into a clean – preferably metal – bowl (you can squeeze a little lemon juice in there and rinse to ensure that any trace of grease is wiped clean) and add your salt. Whisk on a high speed until you get white, stiff peaks.
- Add the baking powder and vinegar to the egg whites then whisk in the sugar (add it to the bowl slowly). Before you put your last bit of sugar in the mixture, add the coffee/water and whip all together. You should have a thick, shiny consistency that would allow you to pick up the bowl and hold it over your head without finding yourself coated in uncooked meringue. Or you could make a fellow family member do this. Just in case.
- Line a flat baking tray with grease-proof paper, dollop on the mixture (I went for a big circle – because I’m crazy like that – but you can do whatever you like!) and pop into the oven for 60-70 minutes until the meringue has formed a nice, crisp shell.
- Ten minutes before you take the meringue out pop your walnuts on a baking tray and let them roast. Take them out at the same time as the meringue.
- When your meringue is cooled, whip the cream, vanilla extract and icing sugar together until the cream is thick and firm then slather it on top of the meringue.
- Coat your walnuts in oodles of caramel sauce and pile them on top of your pavlova, drizzle around a bit of extra caramel sauce just for good measure and enjoy!