For part 3 in the Christmas cookbook series I’m reminded of some of your BBQ New Years resolutions. Becky Coup and Dominic Black mentioned on Facebook how they would like to cook more desserts on the grill, so I think this one is pretty spot on!
For this weeks’ cook I’ve chosen the deliciously soft and pillowy Rolled Pavlova with Peaches and Blackberries from Ottolenghi‘s Sweet cookbook. As we are in Winter and some soft fruits aren’t at their best, I did have to follow a comment in the recipe and modify the fruits to what was best in the produce section, so I went with plums, kiwi and blueberries.
A pavlova isn’t what you’d expect on a BBQ blog but that’s the whole point of #BanishingBBQMyths. I’ve cooked pavlovas at events and demonstrations in the past and as well being a sure-fire crowd pleaser, there is just something finite about serving a baked pavlova from the grill. So many people don’t believe you can control the temperature of a grill to cook some classic bangers and burgers, let alone to bake a meringue! With that in mind, we’re going to show you how to up your BBQ Game!!
Meringues are a fantastic make-ahead dessert if you have people coming over, and in the book it actually says the meringue can be baked the day before. They are also a fairly inexpensive dessert that still looks like you’ve really pulled out all the stops,! With that said, show me the eggs and let’s get cracking!!
- 250g egg whites (from 6 large eggs or a carton) at room temperature as they are much better to whisk
- 375g caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 400ml double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 30g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra to dust
- 5 large ripe plums (600g), washed but unpeeled, stone removed and cut into 0.5cm wide segments
- 300g kiwi fruits, peeled and cut into segments with some cut into half moons and skin left on for the top decoration
- 150g blueberries, washed
- zest of 1 lemon, optional
- 60g toasted flaked almonds
- Setup your barbecue for 220c indirect roasting heat with the lid down, vents open, and deflector plate in if using a ceramic style grill.
- Line a 35 x 30cm shallow baking tray with baking parchment, so the paper rises 2cm over the sides of the tin.
- To make the meringue base, place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk on medium speed for about 1 minute, until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking all the time for at least 5 minutes, until the mixture turns into a thick and glossy meringue. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla extract, vinegar and cornflour. Increase the speed up to medium and whisk for a minute, until fully combined.
- Spoon the meringue mix into the lined tin and use a spatula to spread it out evenly on the tray.
- Place an upturned baking sheet in the area of indirect roasting heat. The sheet should be slightly larger than the one holding the meringue just to protect the sides from the heat getting too close.
- Place the tray of meringue in the preheated barbecue and close the lid. On a gas barbecue reduce the outside burners slightly down to give a cooking temperature of 200c, and if on charcoal just tweak the top vent slightly closed to reduce airflow and the charcoal burn rate: the contrast in temperature helps create the crisp outside along with the gooey marshmallow-like inside. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the meringue is pale beige in colour and crusty on top.
*In my test I didn’t need the full 35 minutes, so check from about 25 minutes onwards.
- Remove from the grill and set aside until completely cool. The meringue will have puffed up in the barbecue but will deflate slightly when cooled.
*If keeping until the next day, the meringue can now be covered with a tea towel and set aside at room temperature.
- To make the filling, beat the cream until very soft peaks form – this should take about 1 minute using an electric whisk on a medium-high speed, longer if whisking by hand. Add the vanilla and icing sugar and fold in using a silicone spatula to stop the cream from being overworked.
- To assemble, place a clean tea towel flat on top of the meringue (or use the one that is already there, if you’ve made this the day before) and quickly but carefully invert it on to the work surface, so that the crisp top of the meringue is now facing down and sitting on top of the tea towel.
- Lift the tin off and carefully peel away the baking parchment before spreading the meringue evenly with two-thirds of the whipped cream. Cover generously with 500g sliced plums and 200g kiwi segments, 100g blueberries, half of the lemon zest and sprinkle over 50g almonds.
- To roll the meringue, start with the longest side closest to you and, using the tea towel to assist, fold over the first quarter of the meringue and fold down quite firmly. Don’t worry if the fold cracks because it will be hidden once the roll is complete. Now using the tea towel to hold the meringue, lift and roll the meringue over and over until the edges comes together to form a log. Use the tea towel to lift or slide the meringue onto a serving tray or platter, with the seam facing down. Don’t worry if the meringue loses its shape a bit or some of the fruit spills out; just hold your nerve and use your hands to gently pat it back into the shape of a log.
- Pipe or spoon the remaining cream down the length of the roulade. Top with the remaining fruit, 10g almonds, the remaining lemon zest, a dusting of icing sugar and serve!
As I mentioned above, one of the secrets of a good meringue is having the egg whites at room temperature before you begin whisking. Another secret is that you can assemble them with the cream and fruit fillings at least an hour or so before you’re ready to serve and the cream will just soften into the meringue a little and will hold it together when you serve.
Verdict: A meringue / pavlova / roulade is a dessert for all seasons and definitely has a place on my grill! The key is to change the fruits to suit the season, with fresh fruits and berries taking centre stage in the summer and early autumn months, but don’t forget that slow cooked fruits in winter and spring are just as delicious and offer a different way to serve this most classic of desserts! Thanks Yotam!