Nectarine & coconut pavlova

Although slightly time consuming, pavlova remains that one go-to dessert that always makes an impression. It looks intricate but is actually so easy and the end result almost always ends up in having seconds.
Fresh fruit, cream & mint is an old time favourite of mine and I add candied nuts too. If I feel like being fancy I also top it off with sugar works! (If I feel like being that fancy.) Dark chocolate is a great alternative to break some of the sugary sweetness of the pavlova. The secret to a good pavlova – the egg & sugar mixture! Glossy and stiff is just perfect to create your piece of amazing!! Always ensure that your blender bowl and utensils are super clean and that your eggs are separated perfectly…not even a drop of yolk in the egg whites. I like a messier look so hardly ever use a piping bag unless I want to layer the pavlova or make sweet little kisses.

Ingredients
4 Egg whites
1.5 C Castor sugar
1.5 Tsp Vanilla essence
1/2 Tsp Cream of tartar (or 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
2 Tsp corn flour

How to do it
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Start adding the sugar, with the blender running on medium speed, a tablespoon at a time. Mix well after each addition before adding the next spoon of sugar.
Once all the sugar have been added and you have a beautiful glossy, stiff peak mixture, turn the blender off and fold through the vanilla, cream of tartar & corn flour. If you wish to use food colouring you can add this now and gently fold it through.
Using a stencil, cake pan or mould, pencil out circle/s on wax paper. Grease lightly with non-stick spray. Spoon the mixture into the round and spread it out, ensuring that the sides are higher to hold the filling in the centre.
For one large pavlova, bake for one hour, ten minutes. For smaller pavlovas, bake for 45 minutes. Once baked, turn the oven off and leave the pavlova in the oven until completely cooled. Using a spatula, gently remove the pavlova from the paper.
The pavlova will keep well (without decoration) in an air-tight container for about two days. The pavlova mixture will keep well for 24 hours if tightly wrapped and placed in the fridge.

Coconut nectarines
6 Ripe nectarines, sliced
2 Tbs Brown sugar
3 Tbs Butter
1/3 C Malibu rum
1/3 C coconut flakes, toasted in a dry pan
1/3 C Almond flakes, toasted in a dry pan
1C Fresh cream, whipped to stiff peak
Fresh mint leaves, to garnish

How to do it
Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat and add the sliced nectarines & brown sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes. Pour the malibu rum into the nectarine mixture, turn down the heat, and simmer until reduced and syrupy. Set aside.
Toast the coconut & almond flakes.

To assemble
Place the cooled pavlova on a plate and spoon whipped cream into the centre. Top with the nectarines, coconut & almond flakes. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

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