by Justine Drake
Makes 8 mini Pavlovas or one large one
4 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup (200g) castor sugar
½ Tbsp (7ml) vanilla essence
Juice of 1 large orange
1-2 Tbsp (15-30ml) orange liqueur, optional
1 cup (250 ml) cream, whipped
Burnt Sugar Shards
2 Tbsp water
¾ cup sugar
Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to medium-stiff peaks.
Add castor sugar a tablespoon at a time every few minutes – the sugar should dissolve completely before adding the next spoonful. Whisk until all the sugar has been added and the meringue is smooth, thick and glossy.
Place large dollops of the meringue mixture onto a lined baking tray taking care to allow enough space between each one.
Using the back of a teaspoon, create a well in the middle of each to create a nest.
Bake at 100°C for about 1 hour. Cool completely in the oven before removing.
Thinly slice nectarines and macerate in orange juice and liqueur for no longer than 30 minutes.
Spoon the cream into the meringue nests and arrange the nectarines on top. Decorate with sugar shards and mint leaves if you like.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place water and sugar into a heavy based pot.
Cook over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar – do not stir as crystals will form.
Once the sugar starts to dissolve, increase the heat and cook until dark brown.
Pour the caramel onto a baking sheet in a thin, even layer.
Cool and chop or break into shards.
Store in an airtight container until needed.
Do not refrigerate or the shards will become tacky.