Our Boxing Day is to us as important (if not more!) than the big day itself. It's our huge family day with all 3 of my dad's siblings round and their respective families plus usually my grandparents and some family friends for good measure! It all kicks off after our Boxing Day 5K which a few years ago was the biggest boxing day run in the country! While slightly smaller now, we still get a local beer as a congrats at the end and usually wonderful weather so it makes it all worth it (despite my little legs meaning I always come last out of the family entrants...). To refuel all of these hungry runners a huge buffet is of course necessary and ours has quite the reputation. All of the wonderful cold cuts of baked ham, turkey, beef and my dad's famous poached whole salmon with the classic cucumber scales... Add this to pork pies and cheeses to boot and you've quite the feast!
Desserts are always welcomed, particularly when everyone's had a little bit too much to drink and we're 4 rounds in to whatever game we've chosen for that year (the classic 3 ball snooker is one I'll have to explain to you another day)! I usually do a super-luxe chocolate log with a filling of chocolate spread, mini marshmallows and vanilla cream but this year I decided to try a pud I've never given a go - a pavlova. We had an honorary Aussie in our midst so it seemed more than fitting and after making the hollandaise for Eggs Royale for Christmas Day brekkie, it was a no brainer with all those whites spare!
A few of you have asked for the recipe since I posted its picture in all its glory on Boxing Day eve so I thought I'd post it! I love Nigella's basic recipe but as it's Christmas it desperately needed some glamour and as it so often does in my life, Prosecco called... This is also perfect for a New Year's Eve/Day spread or indeed any time over the holiday season!
Lemon & Prosecco Pavlova
For the meringue:
6 egg whites
375g caster sugar
2 tsp. cornflour
1 lemon, zest and 2 tbsp. juice
2 tbsp. Prosecco
For the topping:
A good slosh / 7 tbsp. / 100ml Prosecco
100g caster sugar
2 lemons, zest and juice
450ml double cream
2-3 tbsp. lemon curd, warm
Couple of handfuls of berries
Draw a 10" circle on a piece of baking parchment and turn it over onto a baking tray and set your oven to 180c. For your pav base, whisk up your eggs whites for 5 minutes or so until they have reached very stiff peaks. Slowly add your caster sugar a spoon at a time and then continue beating for a good few minutes until the meringue is lovely and glossy and holds it shape well.
Add the cornflour, lemon zest and juice and the Prosecco and give a quick whisk to incorporate. Dot a couple of splodges of meringue onto your baking sheet to secure the paper and then spoon the meringue within the circle you've drawn. Pop into the oven and then turn it down straight away to 150c. Bake for an hour and then leave in the oven with the door cracked open with a wooden spoon overnight. It'll probably crack but gosh darnit, it's a beautiful thing when it does so fear not.
About an hour before serving, in a large bowl dissolve the sugar in the Prosecco and lemon juice. Add the cream and then whip until a lovely soft and fluffy texture is achieved. Lay your serving plate gently on top of the meringue and flip over. Dollop the cream lovingly across it in an even layer and scatter the berries atop it too. Warming the curd makes it far easier to scatter across the top so a couple of minutes on the stove should loosen it and with a spoon, you can leave little morsels of delight dotted across the pav to your heart's content! Enjoy with an extra glass of bubbly...
I'll upload my recipe for a yummy curd recipe very soon so keep an eye out!