Quite often I am asked to bake stuff that is gluten free. My tendency until now has been to use GF flour mixes and hope for the best. Results have been pretty mixed. Then I started thinking about meringue and how yummy it is obviously it doesn’t contain gluten. So I decided to make a pavlova for a Thanksgiving potluck I was going to (and a cheesecake, forgot to take pictures so will blog that next time I make it) It turns out Nutella and salted caramel go really well together. I had been thinking about the combination but it was only when I doubled them up on a spoon, I realised they are REALLY GOOD. The pavolva was topped with fresh cream, Nutella sauce, salted caramel and homemade hazelnut praline crushed up and sprinkled over.
For the meringue
- 210g free-range egg whites (about 6 large eggs)
- 420g caster sugar – I used golden for a more caramelly taste.
(weigh the egg whites and then do 60g of sugar per 30g egg white)
- Draw a 10 inch circle on a sheet of baking paper (to serve as a template for you meringue) and turn it over so the pencil mark is on the other side
- Line a roasting tray with baking paper and heat 420g caster sugar at 200C until the edges are just beginning to melt. Heating the sugar helps it to dissolve in the egg white more quickly, creating a glossy and more stable mixture. Now, turn the oven down to 110C.
- Add egg whites a bowl (you will find this much easier if you have a stand mixer). At first whisk slowly allowing small stabilising bubbles to form, then increase the speed until the egg whites form stiff peaks (and you could hold the bowl over your head – if it starts to go cotton wooly stop – it is becoming over whisked)
- Using a large spoon, add the sugar spoon by spoon while continuing to whisk. It is ready once you have a full bodied, stiff and glossy mixture (about 5 minutes). Don’t put in the melted edge clumps
- Spoon onto a lined baking tray making sure it is slightly higher around the edges to hold all the filling.
- Bake for around 3 hours at 110c. Its good to keep our meringues mallowy and soft in the middle, so take them out of the oven as soon as they lift off the baking paper with the base intact
- 100g Nutella with 3 tbsp cream or milk stirred in to make a sauce
- 1 quantity of Nigella’s salted caramel
- 300ml of double cream whipped
- Hazelnut Praline
For the hazelnut praline:
- 200g white caster sugar
- 50g toasted chopped hazelnuts
- 2 pinches of salt
- Put the sugar in a smallish heavy bottomed pan and cover with 75ml water and stir gentle so the sugar is wet
- Heat the sugar until is is 105c – use a sugar thermometer and watch it like a hawk
- While the sugar is heating, line a baking tray with baking paper and put a thin layer of the hazelnuts on the tray and sprinkle salt evenly over them
- When the sugar is ready pour it over the hazelnuts
- Allow to cool and smash up two-third fairly finely and leave one-third in larger pieces to decorate.
Put half the caramel and Nutella sauce in the centre, top with the cream and then drizzle the remainder of the sauces over the top using disposable piping bags if you want it to look neater, sprinkle with the crushed up and larger praline pieces