Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova


Finally December is here, heralding the start of Winter. And with it we celebrate a month of festive planning, carols by candlelight and sellotape everywhere! While, here at home, there are also two birthdays during December, the celebrating can seem never ending. Since there’s only so much cake you can eat, fear not, because this gluten free 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. Since they are simple to make as long as you follow a few basic rules. And they cannot, must not and should not 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, after baking it is important to leave the Pavlova to cool slowly, preferably in the oven. Rushing this stage can cause the meringue structure to badly crack.

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

Please do not let the previous advice discourage you from making a pavlova. Rather I hope it has the opposite effect and encourages you. Because, taking an extra five minutes (that’s 5 minutes not forever!) to ensure the meringue is properly mixed will improve your bake.. Another tip is to bake the Pavlova in the evening, leaving it in the oven overnight to cool. Since this allows the meringue to cool slowly overnight without tying up the oven. Resulting in a quick assembly job the next day and easy your festive workload!

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

And if the meringue does crack, it will be covered with whipped cream and fruit. While 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

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.

Making and shaping a meringue.

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.
  • Alternatively, sprinkle over a dusting of icing sugar to create an extra festive feel!

Filling and decorating a baked meringue.

Fill and decorate the Pavlova 1-2 hours prior to serving. So that the blackberries have time to 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. After filling and decorating 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 this recipe uses 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.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens at this festive time, have fun preparing and sharing 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.

Christmas meringue dessert.



Snowy Black Forest Roulade


Happy holidays to all of my wonderful readers. Since we are all getting in the festive mood here at Feasting headquarters (home!) I have an easy to make and delicious gluten free dessert to share. While you can absolutely make this Snowy Black Forest Roulade with regular wheat flour, using a gluten free alternative ensures this dessert recipe is available to more people. And we are all about inclusivity here at Feasting is Fun.

FF Gluten Free Black Forest Roulade

Making A Genoise Sponge

Since I have never made a gluten free genoise sponge before, I wanted to attempt it. No fat is added when making a Genoise Sponge. Rather, whisking eggs and sugar until light and foamy. And then you carefully fold both the flour and cocoa powder into the mix.  Most importantly is to be careful not to knock out the whipped air. Resulting in a baked sponge that is beautifully light.

Cherry and whipped cream filled chocolate sponge roll. Topped with chocolate trees and a dusting of icing sugar snow.
Snowy Black Forest Roulade with gluten free option.

Because adding cocoa can have a drying effect on the sponge, I worried whether the cake would hold up to being rolled. Since a good roulade sponge  should withstand rolling, without cracking. So the possibilities of how wrong this sponge could go, seemed endless. Maybe this bake would fail? Yet the only way to know, was to try.

FF Gluten Free Dessert
Gluten Free Snowy Black Forest Roulade

Gluten Free Genoise Sponge Roulade

So, the gluten free chocolate genoise sponge was made and baked. And as you can see from the photos, it did indeed roll, without cracking and the flavour is utterly delicious. Light, soft, chocolate sponge, filled with kirsch flavoured whipped cream and soft, sweet cherries. One mouthful of this Snowy Black Forest Rouladand I  am  completely lost in one of my favourite flavour combinations.

Finally, my taste testers were happily enjoying eatythe roulade, completely unaware it was gluten free. A very positive sign. Since I have baked quite a few gluten free recipes, it’s a thrill when the texture and flavour are spot on.  A soft, yielding sponge, that tastes just like a sponge should. As a result of this bake I have plans to make another gluten rolled sponge, that is simply flavoured with vanilla or lemon.

I find that the proof of the pudding is in the eating! And when plates and bowls are left empty, I am satisfied that whatever I have made is a hit. Our children can be brutally honest, especially Snugs, our youngest daughter. She scored this Snowy Black Forest Roulade at 9 out of 10. Another success for the Feasting kitchen.

Recipe: Snowy Black Forest Roulade

1tbsp Unsalted Butter

4 Large Free Range Eggs

80g Caster Sugar

50g Gluten Free Plain White Flour – I use Doves Farm alternatively use Plain White Flour (for non gluten free Roulade)

50g Cocoa Powder plus an extra 2tbsp – I use Callebaut

1tsp Baking Powder – I use Waitrose as it is gluten free

Small Pinch of Salt – I use Maldon

300ml Double Cream

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

4tsp Icing Sugar

1 Tin Cherry Pie Filling (410g)

Optional 2tbsp Kirsch Liquer

100g Dark Chocolate

50g White Chocolate

Optional – White Edible Glitter

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

Note: To bake the sponge for this Snowy Black Forest Roulade you will need a baking tray that measures 38cm x 25cm x 3cm (15″ x 10″ x 1″).

Creating the Chocolate Genoise Sponge Batter

  • First of all grease the baking tray with butter and line the base with baking parchment.
  • Sift the gluten free flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  • Next, in a large bowl, or if you have a stand mixer use the bowl with the whisk attachment, add the sugar and eggs. Whisk continuously for at least 5 minutes, until the egg/sugar mixture has more than tripled in size. The mixture will be a pale cream colour that is very light and airy. It should leave a ribbon trail, that lasts a few seconds, after you remove the whisk.
  • Tip the sifted ingredients into the whisked egg mixture and using a large metal spoon, carefully fold the sifted ingredients in. The aim is to retain as much air within the finished cake batter as possible.
  • Once the ingredients are completely combined pour the mixture in to the prepared baking tray. Use a palette knife to ensure that the cake batter is evenly spread, ensuring that it reaches all of the corners.
FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Making the sponge batter and filling the baking tray.

Baking and Cooling the Sponge

  • Now place the baking tray into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • To test if the sponge is baked press lightly in the centre, when baked the sponge will spring back. Note – be careful not to over bake as this will cause the sponge to be dry and it will then be harder to roll without cracking.
  • Finally, when the sponge is baked, remove it from the oven.
  • Next, allow the sponge to cool in the tin for 2 minutes.
  • While the sponge is cooling, lay a large, just bigger than the sponge, piece of baking parchment on the work top.
  • Dust the baking parchment with the extra 2 tablespoons of cocoa, so that it is evenly covered.
  • Now run a palette knife around the edge of the sponge and then turn it out on to the baking parchment.
  • Very carefully remove the parchment that lined the baking tray.
  • Starting at one side and using the baking parchment to help, gently roll the sponge, while it is still warm.
  • Once rolled, set to one side until completely cooled.
FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Please use baking parchment, my brain wasn’t working and I used a pastry mat. It worked absolutely fine but next time I will turn the sponge out on to parchment!

Making the Chocolate Trees:

  • While waiting for the sponge to cool, the chocolate trees can be made.
  • First you will need 2 small disposable piping bags to pipe the trees with.
  • Next break up both types of chocolate and place in heatproof, microwaveable bowls.
  • Heat the chocolate, individually, on medium until it has started to melt.
  • Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
  • Now fill each piping bag with melted chocolate. Leave the chocolate to cool, until it is still liquid, yet warm, not hot, in the piping bag. As a result of leaving the chocolate to cool, it will be thicker and easier to control whilst piping the trees.
  • Starting with the dark chocolate, pipe tree shapes on to a non stick silicone mat, or baking parchment. The trees should be about 3 inches (7.5cm) high, please see the photo below.
FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Pipe the main trunk down then up and then pipe the branches.
  • Allow the dark chocolate to set and then pipe white chocolate on the top of each branch. Leave the trees to completely set before attempting to remove them.
  • It is inevitable that some trees will break as they are removed. This is great as most forest floors have fallen/broken branches on them. So they can be used to add further decoration to the roulade.

Filling and decorating the Snowy Black Forest Roulade:

  • In a large bowl add the cream, vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of Kirsch and 2 teaspoons of sifted icing sugar – a tea strainer is handy for sifting small amounts.
  • Whisk the cream until it just holds a stiff peak.
  • Unroll the chocolate sponge and then, using a palette knife, spread half of the cream over the sponge.
  • Decant the cherry pie filling into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of kirsch and stir to mix.
  • Next, using a spoon, place cherries evenly across the sponge, then spoon the syrup in between the cherries.
  • Using the baking parchment roll the sponge into it a log, finishing with the seam underneath.
  • Transfer the Roulade to a suitable plate.
  • Fit a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, then fill the bag with the remaining whipped cream.
  • Pipe single flower stars along the top of the Roulade and then along the sides.
FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Building, rolling and piping the Roulade.
  • To finish the decoration, carefully peel the piped chocolate trees away from the non stick surface.
  • Place the trees evenly along the top of the Roulade, pushing them into the piped cream.
  • Use any broken tree parts as forest floor decorations, anchoring them to the roulade with the piped cream.
  • Finally finish the dessert by sifting icing sugar snow over the Roulade, sprinkling edible glitter for added sparkle!
FF Gluten Free Roulade
Snowy Black Forest Roulade

Serve sliced with a smile!

FF Gluten Free Dessert
A slice of Black Forest Roulade.

All the flavour of a Black Forest Gateaux rolled into a stunning, Christmassy, Snowy Black Forest Roulade that is completely gluten free. A dessert that can be enjoyed by more people, without any loss of taste, texture or quality.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for this Snowy Black Forest Roulade here are some other gluten free recipes you may enjoy:

Lemon Ripple Ice Cream 

FF Lemon Ripple Ice Cream
Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova gluten free.

Strawberry Whipped Cream Giant Doughnut

FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Strawberry Whipped Cream Giant Doughnut gluten free.

Gluten free recipes can taste just as great as their regular, wheat based counterparts. Also, creating recipes that can be made and eaten by people on a restricted diet, is an important part of what I do at Feasting is Fun. So you can look forward to more recipes being added, especially with Christmas not very far away.

Finally, when a recipe tastes as good as this Snowy Black Forest Roulade, there is no need to bake separate desserts. And that has to be a good thing, for both those on a restricted diet and the cook!

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

I am submitting this Snowy Black Forest Roulade to October’s We Should Cocoa over at Tin and Thyme

FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade