I’ll get introductions out of the way pretty quickly…. I’m Francesca, very new to the Pretty Normal Team and Pretty Damn Excited about it!
Here on Pretty Normal Me I guess I’ll be known as The Foodie. Happier in a kitchen than a club, I’ll be whipping something up every week that everyone can make with no fuss and no drama in sight, to be enjoyed alone or shown off in front of discerning dinner party guests. Some of the recipes will be healthy, dairy free, gluten free and some will be so sinful that you’ll want to wear elasticated clothing for a week. The one thing they all have in common though is that they are delicious, easy and will make Nigella quake in her boots.
If you want to hear any more of my backstory then head over to my bio, but for now, there are far more important things to talk about. Mainly pavlova.
Meringue is possibly one of the world's easiest desserts to make. It literally has two ingredients! Whip one of these bad boys up, slap some whipped cream and berries on it and hey presto, you’ve got the perfect summer dessert to reward yourself with after a long day doing whatever it is you pretty normal lot do.
You will need:
6 egg whites
Around 300g caster sugar (granulated sugar to all our international ladies!)
200ml Double cream
1 tsp Vanilla bean paste
That’s literally it, maybe some lemon zest if you’re feelin’ fancy.
For a dairy-free alternative to the whipped cream, coulis is so easy and bloody delicious - reduce some raspberries in a saucepan with a tablespoon or two of water and some sugar, strain and drizzle to your hearts content.
Beat your egg whites until they form stiff peaks (watch carefully though - don’t over beat them to the point they dry out…)
One spoonful at a time, add your sugar as you continue to beat the mixture, until it’s all incorporated and a thick, white glossy affair that you simply must dip your finger into to check that it’s not in any way poisonous.
Spread that mixture out on a baking sheet with greaseproof paper into a big, wide circle of joy, building the mixture up round the edges to make a ‘nest’.
Pop that bad boy in the oven for 2 1/2 hours at 120 degrees. Once the time's up turn your oven off, leave the door open and don't even think about touching your meringue until the oven is cold. (Don’t ask me why, leave that bit to the scientists) Whilst you’re waiting, why not read the entire back catalogue of Pretty Normal Me…
Once cooled, take the meringue out of the oven and transfer it ever so gingerly onto your desired dish.
In a COLD bowl (and by cold I mean stick it in the freezer for 20mins before you do this), whip your double cream with the vanilla bean paste until it’s light and fluffy (finger dipping is also recommended at this stage) .
Dollop it onto your meringue and top with the berries.
The end result will always be truly gorgeous and you’ll spend the evening convincing everyone that it didn’t take three days and a team of Parisian pastry chefs to complete.