Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

Finally December has arrived, heralding the start of Winter. And with it a month of festive planning, carols by candlelight and sellotape everywhere! Since, here at home, we also celebrate two birthdays this month, the celebrating can seem never ending. Because there’s only so much cake you can eat, isn’t there? Fear not, because this Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova is the perfect celebratory dessert.

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

Tips For The Perfect Pavlova:

For me, Pavlovas always feel like such an elegant dessert. Yet they are simple to make as long as a few basic rules are followed. They cannot be rushed. Either during the whisking or baking stage. While whisking, all of the sugar must be given time to dissolve in the egg white, otherwise it will leak out during cooling and the meringue will collapse. Likewise, once baked the pavlova should be left to cool slowly, preferably in the oven as it also cools down. As a result of rushing this stage the meringue structure is likely to crack badly.

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

Do not let the previous advice put you off of making a pavlova. Rather it should encourage you. Take an extra five minutes (that’s 5 minutes not forever!) to ensure the meringue is properly mixed. Also bake the Pavlova in the evening, leaving it in the oven overnight to cool. Allowing the meringue to cool slowly overnight without tying up the oven.

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

Should the meringue crack, it will be covered with whipped cream and fruit. And no one ever need know!

Recipe: Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova serves 8

4 Large Free Range Egg Whites

200g/7oz Caster Sugar

Juice of half a Lemon

400ml Double Cream (Heavy Cream)

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey 

4 Fresh Figs – cut into quarters

300g Frozen Blackberries – I buy them from Waitrose 

1-2 Fresh Pomegranates – seeds removed

Optional – Fresh Mint to garnish

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4

Making the meringue base:

  • First of all draw an 8in/20cm circle on to a piece of baking parchment. Turn the paper over and place on to a baking tray.
  • Wipe around the inside of a very clean, large bowl with half a lemon.
  • Add four eggs white to the bowl and the juice of half a lemon.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they form a stiff peak.
  • Continue whisking on a medium speed, slowly adding one tablespoon of sugar at a time to the egg whites.
  • When all of the sugar is added the mixture should be thick and glossy. Rub a little of the meringue between your finger and thumb, if it feels gritty continue to whisk. Check again after a couple of minutes. As soon as it feels smooth and silky it is ready.
  • Remove a small amount of the meringue and use it as glue to stick the baking parchment to the baking tray.
  • Spoon the meringue mixture on to the baking parchment, inside the circle.
  • Use a palette knife to shape the meringue into a disc, building up the outside edge.
FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Making the Pavlova base.

Baking the meringue:

  • Place the meringue into the centre of the oven and bake at the preheated temperature for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 120C/100C fan, 250F, gas mark 1/2 and continue to bake for 1 hour.
  • Do not open the oven during baking.
  • As soon as the baking time has elapsed turn off the oven and leave the meringue  to cool completely in the oven.
  • Once cooled remove the meringue from the oven.

Filling and decorating the Pavlova:

  • Pour the cream into a large bowl. Add the vanilla bean paste.
  • Whip the cream until it is thick but not stiff.
  • Carefully run a palette knife between the meringue and baking parchment.
  • Place the meringue on to a plate or cake stand.
  • Spoon the whipped cream on to the meringue.
  • Add the figs and blackberries. Finally sprinkle over with pomegranate seeds.
  • Garnish with fresh mint.
FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Baking and filling the Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

Fill and decorate the Pavlova 1-2 hours prior to serving. So that the blackberries can defrost.

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

To serve, cut the Pavlova into slices and use a cake knife to transfer to a dessert plate.

The meringue pavlova base can be made a day in advance. Once filled and decorated keep the Pavlova refrigerated and away from strong smells. The Pavlova will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge.

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova you may also like these:

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova 

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

Blackberry Nectarine Tart 

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Blackberry Nectarine Tart

Dark Chocolate Drizzle Pear Ginger Pavlova 

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Dark Chocolate Drizzle Pear Ginger Pavlova

With a crisp outer shell and marshmallow centre Pavlovas are a delicious dessert. Since they can be filled with many different combinations of fruit they are perfect for using seasonal or frozen fruit. While in this recipe the meringue has a whipped cream filling, see my Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova for an alternative filling. Also all Pavlova recipes here on Feasting is Fun are gluten free (please see individual recipes for recommendations). As a result this dessert is a festive winter feast that more people can enjoy.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

 

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Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Today was so beautifully warm and sunny, I simply had to make this Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream.

FF Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Made with frozen blackberries from last year, this ice cream delivers massively on taste.

To quote Jennifer Aniston “Here’s the science bit”, when eating very cold food, such as ice cream, the flavours are dulled, due to the cold temperature. If you think of strawberries eaten straight from the fridge, they will never taste as good as those that have been left out to warm up a bit, or better, plucked straight from a sun warmed plant.

So when making ice cream, even simple Very Vanilla Ice Cream, the flavours need to be more pronounced so that you taste them.

FF Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

With this creamy, sharp, sweet, tangy Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream, you taste every bit of the beautiful blackberries. Sousing them in sugar and lemon juice encourages each berry to release it’s maximum, ripe berry flavour. On it’s own the blitzed blackberry sauce would be too tart and the berry flavour would be overwhelming, yet mixed into a delicate vanilla ice cream custard and churned until it becomes ice cream, the flavours mellow and meld together, creating one of the most exciting flavoured ice creams ever.

Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Studded with chunks of deep, dark, chocolate that lend not only a slight bitter flavour but added texture this Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream becomes complete. Elegant enough to be served in pretty bowls at the end of a meal with nothing else to accompany it. This ice cream deserves to be savoured unaccompanied.

One thing is certain – this ice cream is certainly up there with the best ice creams I have ever tried!

Recipe: Makes approx 1 litre Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

300ml Double Cream

300ml Whole/Semi Skimmed Milk

4 Large Egg Yolks – I always use free range eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen Massey

7tbsp Caster Sugar

Scant pinch of salt – less than 1/4tsp

1tsp Cornflour

Juice of 1 Lemon

300g Blackberries – I used frozen but use fresh in season

100g/4oz Good Quality Dark Chocolate minimum 65% Cocoa solids

Method: Ensure that the freezing part of the ice cream maker has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

Please see Very Vanilla Ice Cream for step by step photographs, showing how to make the ice cream custard.

Making The Blackberry Ice Cream Base

  • Place the cream, milk and vanilla extract into a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the egg yolks, sugar, salt and cornflour to a large heatproof bowl. Whisk until pale and creamy.
  • The milk/cream needs to reach scalding point. This is when little bubbles appear around the edge of the liquid.
  • When the milk/cream has reached scalding point remove the pan from the heat.
  • Whilst whisking the egg mixture, pour the hot milk/cream into the bowl – do not stop whisking.
  • Once combined tip the custard mixture back into the same saucepan, cooking over a low heat and constantly stirring, until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Place a sieve over a clean, heatproof bowl and pour the custard into the bowl, through the sieve.
  • Place cling film directly over the top of the custard so that is touches it. This will prevent a skin from forming.
  • Allow to cool and then place into the fridge to chill.
  • Place the blackberries into a bowl and add the juice of one lemon and one tablespoon of caster sugar. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Place the blackberry mixture into a blender and pulse until you have a smooth purée.
  • Pass the blackberry purée through a sieve to remove any seeds.
  • As soon as the ice cream base has chilled remove the cling film and add the blackberry purée.
This ice cream really does have the most beautiful colour.
This ice cream really does have the most beautiful colour.
  • Mix briefly, don’t worry too much as it will be well mixed in the ice cream maker.
  • Transfer the custard mixture to a jug.

Churning Using An Ice Cream Maker

  • Pour the blackberry custard into the ice cream maker (for mine it has to already be churning – check your instructions).
  • Whilst the ice cream is churning chop the dark chocolate into 1cm-ish sized chunks.
  • Churn the Blackberry Ice Cream until it is a thickened, yet soft ice cream.
Beautifully soft whipped Blackberry Ice Cream.
Beautifully soft whipped Blackberry Ice Cream.
  • Using a soft rubber spatula decant the softly whipped ice cream into a suitable, freezer safe, plastic tub.

Adding The Dark Chocolate Chunks

  • Add the dark chocolate chunks to the blackberry ice cream once it is in the freezer container.
Blackberry Chocolate a Chunk Ice Cream such a delicious combination.
Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream such a delicious combination.
  • Stir the dark chocolate chunks through the ice cream so that they are evenly distributed.
FF Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream ready for the freezer.
  • Clip on the lid, label and place the Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream into the freezer to finish freezing.
  • To serve, remove this ice cream from the freezer a full 30 minutes before serving – unless it really is an extremely hot day, then 20 minutes should suffice.
FF Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

I honestly cannot explain just how good this Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream is. Whilst it may look a little more like a sorbet it is in fact delightfully creamy, with a deep berry flavour to match its beautiful colour and studded with dark chocolate crunch that adds another heavenly level of flavour and texture. It cleanses the palette and refreshes, whilst ensuring that you know you have eaten dessert.

In essence it is truly sublime. A million miles away from mass produced, sweet gloopy ice cream, this is the dessert to serve those you truly want to spoil. Not that it is expensive to make, simply that it is an ice cream worth lingering over and savouring.

If you have enjoyed this Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream recipe, here are a few others you may enjoy:

Lemon Drizzle Ice Cream 

FF Lemon Ripple Ice Cream
Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

Very Vanilla Ice Cream

Very Vanilla Ice Cream
Very Vanilla Ice Cream

Strawberry Rose Ice Cream 

Strawberry Rose Ice Cream

Having an ice cream maker definitely makes the process of creating ice cream easier. It results in a much creamier, less icy, softer on the palate, cooling treat.

Unfortunaley whilst making the Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream another little piece of the plastic on our ice cream maker broke off – it really is on its last legs. Fortunately however, I will be reviewing a brand new model by Andrew James  over the coming few months, so expect lots of chilled recipes through the summer months.

It really gives me such a thrill reading your comments and I appreciate you taking the time to leave them. Likewise seeing my recipes being baked on Twitter and Instagram literally makes my day. Sharing is the heart of this blog and seeing you share your bakes with me always gives me a boost. Thank you.

Whatever you are making and baking in your kitchens, have fun and enjoy every feast that you create.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Blackberry Nectarine Tart

Hi, I’m celebrating – today is the first day I’ve not woken up with a migraine for too long. When I get a fairly good day I smile and give thanks – harder to do on the other days, more like clinging on by my fingertips. AND I made the easiest tart ever! This Blackberry Nectarine Tart is made with shop bought, all butter, puff pastry, a tub of blackberries (mine were frozen) and a punnet of nectarines – you could easily use peaches instead.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

If you think roasting vegetables intensifies their flavour, then imagine what 30 minutes in a hot oven does to the fruit in this tart? Even with the addition of a sprinkle of vanilla sugar the intense fruit flavours in this Blackberry Nectarine Tart are a delight on the taste buds. Yet this is not a sweet tart. For me it’s a perfect balance of fruity flavour and flaky, buttery pastry.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - beautiful and delicious.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – beautiful and delicious.

 

I really can’t emphasise how easy this tart is to make. Since the pastry and blackberries were in the freezer, the nectarines, ridiculously cheap and in season, ripening at an increasingly rapid pace, needed using. Given how well this tart turned out I would happily make this during the colder months using, shock, horror – tinned peaches! Yup I would, with custard poured over. I am shameless!!!

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - a perfect summer dessert, even in the winter.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – a perfect summer dessert, even in the winter.

 

I hope I’ve convinced you to give this tart a try? As they say “The proof of the pudding, is in the eating!”

Recipe : Blackberry Nectarine Tart Serves 6

375g/13oz All Butter Puff Pastry – defrosted, if frozen

300g/11oz Blackberries – if frozen don’t defrost – I buy frozen punnets from Waitrose

7-8 Nectarines – peaches are a good substitute

1tbsp Vanilla Sugar

Method : Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan, 425F, gas mark 7

Grease or line with parchment paper a baking tray with shallow sides, the fruit give off juices when baked, 26cm x 39cm (10.5″ x 15.5″).

On a clean, dry, lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry so that it will just fit in the baking tray – I haven’t given dimensions, as if your baking tray size differs from mine a few centimetres either way, it won’t matter.

Using your rolling pin transfer the pastry to the baking tray.
Using your rolling pin transfer the pastry to the baking tray.

 

I lightly scored the pastry approx. 1cm in from the edge with a sharp knife. This would ensure that a nice, even, crust, bordered the tart.

Next slice each nectarine into 6 equal(ish) portions. If they are still firm this should be fairly easy. Mine were very ripe so I cut out the slices, against the stone, whilst holding the nectarine, over a bowl to catch the juices.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - arrange the nectarine slices in rows.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – arrange the nectarine slices in rows.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart - sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar.

 

You can buy Vanilla Sugar, or alternatively you can make your own.

Vanilla Sugar - I have a Kilner jar filled with caster sugar and a few vanilla pods. Leave for one month and the vanilla will have infused the sugar with it's delicious flavour and scent.
Vanilla Sugar – I have a Kilner jar filled with caster sugar and a few vanilla pods. Leave for one month and the vanilla will have infused the sugar with it’s delicious flavour and scent.

 

Tip : A light (little goes a long way) sprinkling of Vanilla Sugar over homemade popcorn is delish!!

Next arrange the blackberries on the tart, however you choose. I chose to go with the lines of the tart.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - using frozen blackberries I think helped them retain their shape during baking.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – using frozen blackberries I think helped them retain their shape during baking.

 

Place the tart in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes. There will be some juice that leaks, but I found, once the 30 minutes baking time was up, it had concentrated and did not make that part of the tart soggy.

The tart is cooked when the outside crust is golden brown and the base, when gently lifted, is golden brown too.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - once baked remove from the oven.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – once baked remove from the oven.

 

Immediately remove the Blackberry Nectarine Tart from the baking tray and place on a cooling rack. This keeps the tart bottom and crust nice and flaky.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - if you like a bit more sweetness a dusting of icing sugar would be perfect.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – if you like a bit more sweetness a dusting of icing sugar would be perfect.

 

Serve warm or cold. This tart was perfectly complimented by a scoop a good, vanilla ice cream.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - utter deliciousness.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – utter deliciousness.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Blackberry Nectarine Tart you may also like these:

Very Vanilla Ice Cream

FF Blackberry Nectarine Tart
Very Vanilla Ice Cream

Lemon Lime Meringue Pie 

FF Blackberry Nectarine Tart
Lemon Lime Meringue Pie

No Bake White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake 

FF Blackberry Nectarine Tart
No Bake White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake

If you keep pastry and fruit in the freezer regularly, I’d say this is the perfect, pull together, easy dessert, fit for snuggling on the sofa watching a film, or entertaining last minute, or even planned dinner guests!!

I used nectarines as their skin is so tender it doesn’t need to be removed.

What go-to freezer staples do you keep on hand?

Apart from ice cream!!!

Sammie x

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