Stacie Stewart rose to fame as a contestant on MasterChef in 2010, enchanting the nation with her innovative creations and impossibly high beehive. She’s since appeared on ITV’s Food.glorious.Food and is now releasing her first book, Stacie Bakes (£18.99, Pavilion), and we’ve managed to pinch two of its lovely recipes to share with you! If you’ve picked up issue five of Homemaker you’ll have already basked in the glory of her Genoise sponge cake (p76 -77) – piled high with raspberry mousse, encased in rose buttercream and topped with raspberries and pistachios, it is deliciously, decadently romantic. Now, we have the pleasure of handing the mic over to Stacie, who will teach you the ways of her favourite ever dessert – a centrepiece pavlova.
- A little butter, for greasing
- 4 egg whites
- 200g cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp white-wine vinegar
- 150ml double cream
- 150g mascarpone cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 25g caster sugar
- 150g raspberries
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- Soft fruits, such as red berries or tropical fruits
“This is my all-time favourite dessert – soft chewy meringue, beautifully sweet whipped cream and sharp, tangy fruits: it’s got everything a dessert should have, without being too heavy. If things go wrong with your meringue, smash it up and turn the dish into Eton Mess. Before you begin, it’s essential that all your equipment is spotlessly clean: any trace of grease will result in your egg whites not whipping up.”
Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Lightly grease a baking sheet and line with greaseproof paper.
Whisk the egg whites in a glass bowl until frothy, then gradually add the sugar in three or four stages, whisking all the time until stiff peaks form. Whisk in the cornflour and vinegar. You should be able to hold the bowl upside-down without the meringue moving.
Spoon the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, building it up nice and high, with a slightly flattened middle. Little and high is the way to go; don’t make a huge circle – about 18cm is perfect. Place in the oven, immediately turn the heat down to 140°C/275°F/gas mark 1 and bake for 1 hour, until crisp but not coloured.
Turn the oven off, open the door and leave the meringue in the oven to cool for around 30 minutes, then carefully remove from the paper and place on your presentation plate.
To make the filling, whip the cream and mascarpone together until soft peaks form, then beat in the vanilla and sugar. Fill the middle of the meringue with the cream.
Put the raspberries and icing sugar in a pan over a low heat and cook gently until juices begin to flow: this won’t take more than a minute. Crush a few raspberries to create more juice and spoon over the meringue, letting the juices run down the sides of the meringue. Top with more fresh fruits and serve, or chill until you’re ready to eat.
Grab Stacie Bakes: Classic Cakes and Bakes for the Thoroughly Modern Cook by Stacie Stewart (£18.99, Pavilion) for even more easy bakes and sensational recipes.