This is a big old treat, a real fairy tale concoction from the part of my kiwi past and present that provokes the argument about where Pavlova actually originates (I mean which Island in NZ of course). For something that looks and tastes so spectacular it is a breeze to make. The meringue will keep for weeks in an airtight container in a cool place or for months in the freezer. The fruit and cream can be prepared at least a few hours before assembling. You will also need a 26cm cake ring.
For the meringue base:
4 large (or 140g) egg whites
2 teaspoons lime juice (reserve the zest to decorate the finished Pavlova)
120g caster sugar
120g icing sugar
For the Orange Mascarpone Cream:
1 x 150ml pot of double cream
45g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 small very ripe pineapple, or half a large one
1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
3 ripe kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
The seeds from 1 pomegranate
The pulp from 4 passion fruit
The zest of 1 lime (juice used for meringue)
8 sprigs of mint
Icing sugar for dusting
1. Preheat your oven to 120°C / Gas ½ / Simmering oven of the AGA. Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks using an electric mixer. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time; whisking well between each addition. Once all of the caster sugar is incorporated into the egg whites, turn the speed down slightly and add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time. Add two teaspoons of lime juice, whisk for a further minute and then set aside. Line a baking sheet with silicone paper or Bake-O-Glide and using the cake ring as a guide spread a layer about 4cm thick. Spoon 8 small blobs at even intervals around the edges, leaving enough space between each to put some of the mascarpone cream, or your favourite sorbet, if you like. Remove the ring.
2. Place the meringue on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven. Bake for a couple of hours, until you are able to easily peel off a corner of the Bake-O-Glide from the underside and check to see that the meringue exterior and bottom feel firm when tapped. Remove the meringue from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
3. Once cool, invert the meringue and gently remove the silicone paper. The orange mascarpone cream To make the orange cream, beat the double cream and mascarpone until smooth, add the icing sugar and orange zest then whisk together until thick. Set aside in the fridge until needed.Top and tail the pineapple and use a knife to peel away the skin. Cut it into four lengthways. Remove the hard centre then slice each quarter into thick slices.
4. To remove the seeds from the pomegranate, cut it in half through its tummy and, holding the cut side face down in spread fingers, beat the back of the pomegranate half with a rolling pin over a large bowl. Repeat with the other half. Top and tail the mango and use a potato peeler to remove the skin. Cut the flesh away from the stones. Cut the flesh into thick slices. Top and tail the kiwi and remove the skin using a potato peeler. Cut in half lengthways and thickly slice. Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop the seeds out with a small spoon
5. To assemble, put a spoonful of orange and mascarpone cream between each meringue blob around the outside of the Pavlova. Spoon the remainder onto the centre of the Pavlova. Decorate with the fruit and lime zest. Garnish with the mint leaves and dust with icing sugar. Serve to a very delighted bunch of people.