Happy Easter everybody! Whatever it means to you, I hope you have a lovely long weekend, relaxing and enjoying the company of your friends and family, cooking, eating and trying not to freak out about the fact that nearly a third of the year has flown by already!
Here’s another one of those experiments I was talking about the other day. It may not be as pretty as it could possibly be, but considering it was the first time I’ve made a pavlova, let alone a meringue, it’s not too bad. It was a fun experience and the taste was way better than I was expecting!! The meringue was never going to look amazing, considering the temperamental oven, but, by leaving it in the oven overnight (after it’s been switched off), the outside was super crunchy and the inside soft and gooey and perfect, without tasting eggy, which is something I’ve noticed in large meringues before.
If I had kids I’d definitely be using this idea to save them eating so much chocolate at easter time. The little chocolate covered grapes look just like mini easter eggs, but in my opinion, taste even better, with the fresh grape burst in the centre.
You could use any fruit you like, but I love the tartness of the passionfruit against all the sweetness.
You will need to start this recipe the day before
6 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2x170g can passionfruit pulp, strained, seeds discarded
2 tins coconut cream, chilled overnight in the fridge
300ml thickened cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 fresh passionfruit
A few handfuls of seedless purple grapes
300g white chocolate, melted
150g dark chilli chocolate, melted
Pre-heat the oven to 120 degrees celcius.
Add the strained passionfruit pulp into a small saucepan and bring to the simmer over medium high heat. Simmer, stirring, for about 5mins, or until thickened and reduced. Cool and place in the fridge until cold.
Place egg whites and the pinch of salt in a large dry bowl. Using electric beaters, beat until stiff peaks form, about 4mins. Add the sugar, one spoonful at a time, beating constantly (you can continuously add the sugar, no need for beating between spoonfuls). Once all the sugar has been added, beat for a further 2-3mins or until thick and glossy. Do not over-beat. You can test whether the sugar is dissolved by rubbing a little of the mixture between your fingers, it should be smooth, not grainy. Using a spatula, gently fold through the passionfruit syrup, you just want to create a marbled effect.
Spoon the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, into a 20cm circle, swirling and lifting the spoon as you go to create texture and peaks.
Place in the oven and bake for 20mins. Reduce the heat to100 degrees celsius and continue to bake for another 11/2 to 2 hours. Turn the oven off and allow to cool in the oven for about 6 hours, or overnight. Keep in an airtight container until needed.
To make the chocolate covered grapes, make sure they are cold and dry each with a paper towel before dipping into the melted chocolate. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Using a teaspoon, dip one grape at a time into the white chocolate, place on the lined tray to set. (your first few will probably be a bit ugly, but don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it). Place in the fridge to set. Once set, drizzle with the melted dark chilli chocolate. Place in the fridge to set.
When ready to serve, prepare your coconut whipped cream. Remove each tin of coconut cream from the fridge, keeping it upright so as not to deserve the separation that will have occurred. Open each can and into a large bowl, spoon out the top layer of very thick cream, leaving the coconut water at the bottom (you can keep this for another use). Add the regular cream and the sugar and, using electric beaters, beat until thick and soft peaks form.
Spoon the cream onto the meringue and top with the fresh passionfruit pulp. Decorate with the chocolate covered grapes.