If you still haven’t made plans for Valentine’s Day, here’s a pavlova recipe that will make your sweetheart melt.

Ingredients:

Serves 8

  • 1 tblspn cornflour
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 1 tspn malt vinegar
  • 1 tspn vanilla essence
  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 1 tblspn caster sugar, extra
  • 1 tblspn glacé ginger, finely grated
  • ½ cup cream, whipped
  • Persian fairy floss (from gourmet food stores) or sifted icing sugar to garnish

Method:

Line two baking trays with aluminium foil. Coat the foil with butter and sprinkle with cornflour, set aside. Preheat oven to 125°C. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff, taking care not to over beat. Slowly add caster sugar, small quantities at a time, beating as you go. When the mixture is extremely stiff and all the sugar has been added, add the vinegar and the vanilla essence and combine.

Fold the sifted cornflour lightly into the mix. Divide the mixture into eight mounds, four on each baking tray. Stack the mound high by dragging up the sides with the back of a spoon and scoop a hollow out of the centre. Place the trays into the oven and bake for approximately 2 to 2½ hours. The meringues should be hard when tapped. Allow to cool slowly in the switched-off oven with the door slightly ajar.

Slice four of the strawberries into halfcentimetre slices. Place on a small dish and sprinkle with half the extra caster sugar and glacé ginger. Set aside. Process the remaining strawberries in a blender with the last of the extra caster sugar and grated ginger until puréed. Set aside also.

To serve, place each meringue on a dish. Fill the hollow of each meringue with a spoonful of whipped cream. Perch two or three of the sliced strawberries into the cream and scatter the remaining slices around the meringue. Sprinkle with any leftover glacé ginger.

Drizzle the strawberry purée on top of the meringue and around the dish. Garnish with a tuft of Persian fairy floss or sifted icing sugar.