Elise Humphrey’s Ghost Pavlova – Pavlova with cherry syrup, fresh cherries and meringue ghosts (Gluten-free)

Get the kids involved with some easy yet delicious cherry good recipes for a spooky night in and ensure the whole family is happy with this gorgeous yet ghoulish meringue dessert.

Method

Preheat the oven to 100°C and line 2 separate baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment. Put the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and whisk, using an electric whisk, to stiff peaks.

Gradually whisk in the caster sugar, 1 tbsp at a time. Add the cornflour, vanilla extract and lemon juice and whisk briefly, just until incorporated.

Place 1⁄4 of the meringue mixture into a piping bag with a large nozzle. Use a little meringue on the underside of each corner of parchment paper to stick it to the baking sheet. Pipe 2 inch high ghosts, starting close to the surface and first pushing down, then raising in an upwards motion with even pressure. Carefully place the edible eyes onto each ghost and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes.

While the ghosts are baking, place the remaining 3⁄4 of the meringue in a mound on the other baking sheet and spread out into a 6-8 inch diameter circle (you can draw this out beforehand to help you). Make a shallow dip with the back of a metal spoon in the centre of the meringue mixture to accommodate the cream and fruit. Carefully cover in an airtight container and refrigerate the mixture until the ghosts are out of the oven.

Remove the meringue ghosts from the oven and leave to cool. Raise the oven temperature to 140°C/gas mark 1 and place the main pavlova mixture on the bottom shelf. Bake for 1 hour and switch on the oven, but leave the meringue inside to cool for a further 2 hours, with the oven light on. This will keep the meringue warm enough to help prevent cracks.

While the meringue is baking, make the cherry syrup by adding the pitted and sliced cherries, water and sugar to a saucepan and bringing to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Sieve the contents over a bowl, gently stirring the cherries to leave you with a syrup. Leave to cool.

Just before the meringue has completely cooled, whisk the cream in a large bowl until it is just holding its shape. Gently stir in the yoghurt. Pile the cream mixture into the middle of the pavlova and decorate with the meringue ghosts, fresh cherries and cherry syrup.

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Ingredients

For the meringue:
6 egg whites, room temperature
300g caster sugar
1.5 tsp cornflour
1.5 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Edible monster eyes

For the filling:
200ml double cream
100ml crème fraîche
400g fresh whole cherries

For the cherry syrup:
120ml water
120g sugar
200g fresh cherries, pitted and sliced