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Mini Pavlovas with Nectarine and Burnt Sugar Shards

Delicious stone fruits are incredibly versatile when it comes to festive entertaining. Take your festive family recipes up a notch by bringing luscious nectarines to your yuletide table. Justine Drake's mini Pavlovas with nectarine and burnt sugar shards will have everyone licking their lips at the end of the meal.




Makes 8 mini Pavlovas or one large one

Ingredients

Meringue

4 egg whites

Pinch of cream of tartar

1 cup (200g) castor sugar

½ Tbsp (7ml) vanilla essence

Topping

4-6 nectarines

Juice of 1 large orange

1-2 Tbsp (15-30ml) orange liqueur, optional

1 cup (250 ml) cream, whipped

Burnt Sugar Shards

2 Tbsp water

¾ cup sugar

Method

Meringue


Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to medium-stiff peaks.


Add castor sugar a tablespoon at a time every few minutes – the sugar should dissolve completely before adding the next spoonful. Whisk until all the sugar has been added and the meringue is smooth, thick and glossy.


Place large dollops of the meringue mixture onto a lined baking tray taking care to allow enough space between each one.


Using the back of a teaspoon, create a well in the middle of each to create a nest.

Bake at 100°C for about 1 hour. Cool completely in the oven before removing.

Topping

Thinly slice nectarines and macerate in orange juice and liqueur for no longer than 30 minutes.


Spoon the cream into the meringue nests and arrange the nectarines on top. Decorate with sugar shards and mint leaves if you like.

Sugar shards

Line a baking tray with baking paper.


Place water and sugar into a heavy based pot.

Cook over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar – do not stir as crystals will form.


Once the sugar starts to dissolve, increase the heat and cook until dark brown.

Pour the caramel onto a baking sheet in a thin, even layer.


Cool and chop or break into shards.


Store in an airtight container until needed.


Do not refrigerate or the shards will become tacky.


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