This is possibly one of the tastiest desserts I’ve ever made and so many of the ingredients were home-grown or homemade. I was given a couple of punnets of strawberries from some friends and I had some jam sugar, so I knew I had to make strawberry jam as I’d never eat all of the fruit in time before it spoiled. I didn’t want boring old strawberry jam though, despite being delicious I wanted something with a bit of a twist.
So I did my usual thing and put out a request on Instagram for some interesting flavour combinations. The overall consensus was that strawberries work really well with balsamic vinegar and black pepper. I decided to combine the two in this strawberry jam. it’s a delicious combination, the balsamic vinegar adds a rich edge and the black pepper leaves you with a subtle heat in the aftertaste.
I wanted to use this jam in a recipe and I had so many different ideas in my head, but I had a lot of egg whites in the freezer that I needed to use up. This meant it had to be a pavlova of some description, I didn’t want a rich creamy affair as I wanted the jam to be the star and the meringue would also be pretty sweet.
Recently I’ve begun to make my own yoghurt, with mixed results. Initially my yoghurt was coming out very thin, or I was making silly mistakes like stirring the finished yoghurt or warming it for too long in our dehydrator and I killed the bacteria, also I was using plastic containers and that was affecting the cultures in my yoghurt. I finally perfected the recipe and switched to glass kilner jars. If you’d like to try the recipe I’ve had success with, you can find it here. You don’t need a dehydrator to make the yoghurt, I just use it to keep the yoghurt at a constant temperature for a few hours, but this recipe doesn’t use one.
My glut of homemade yoghurt was begging to be used with the pavlova, so I swirled some jam through the yoghurt and used it to top the meringue nests, finally finishing with a garnish of fresh strawberries. Of course you could serve it with a lot more strawberries on the side, or you could even macerate some strawberries in balsamic vinegar and serve them alongside. Using yoghurt instead of cream not only means that this is a bit healthier, it’s also cuts down on some of the sweetness.
You don’t need to make your own yoghurt for this recipe, but do use a Greek yoghurt, or a Greek style yoghurt, as you want it quite thick. The jam will make much more than you need for the pavlovas, but it’s delicious and I’m sure you’ll find lots of other uses for it, but you can halve the recipe if you want.
Tate and Lyle have launched the Great British Jam Awards campaign to inspire everyone to make jam this summer and to try their Tate and Lyle jam sugar. They are running a competition where you can feature your jam themed recipes, hurry you’ve only got until 6th July to get your entries in. The categories are: jam with a twist (e.g. apple pie jam), Jam on the rocks (jam cocktails) and jam bakes (jam used in a bake).
To enter take a picture of your jam recipe by 6th July detailing the ingredients you’ve used and tag @welovebaking_tl and #GreatBritishJamAwards for your chance to win a jam cookery course and other jam goodies. There are more details on their Facebook page.
Strawberry, Balsamic & Black Pepper Jam Pavlovas
- ***Strawberry Balsamic and Black Pepper Jam***
- 600 g Strawberries
- 600 g Tate & Lyle Jam Sugar
- 50 ml Lemon Juice
- 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
- ***Meringue Nests***
- 180 g Egg Whites approx 6 eggs
- 320 g Caster Sugar
- ***To assemble***
- Fresh Strawberries
- 600 g Greek Style Natural Yoghurt
- Meringue Nests
- Strawberry Balsamic & Black Pepper Jam
- Hull the strawberries and place them in a large saucepan, cut up any of the bigger strawberries so they will cook evenly.
- Add the sugar, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and ground black pepper to the strawberries. Give all the ingredients a good stir to mix everything evenly.
- Place the pan over a low heat and using a potato masher give the strawberries a good mash to help speed up the breaking down of the strawberries.
- Bring the jam up to a simmer, stirring until all of the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat and allow the jam to boil away for 8-10 minutes. Stir every now and again to be sure the jam isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Boil the jam until it reaches 105C, allow the jam to cool a little and then pour it into sterilised jars, seal with a lid and store in a dark cupboard unopened for approx 6 months.
- Prepare two baking sheets with baking parchment or silicone mats and pre-heat the oven to 140C/120C Fan/Gas 1.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk fitted. Whisk on high until white, fluffy and very stiff. Slowly add the sugar a tablespoon at a time until it is completely combined. The mixture will change and become very shiny, thick and firm.
- When the meringue holds a stiff peak, put it in a piping bag fitted with a French piping tip.
- Pipe 6 spirals on each tray and pipe an edge around the next to give it a hollow in the middle - you might need to pipe two edges on top of each other, to give a deeper nest.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 120C/100C Fan/Gas 1/2 for the last 30 minutes.
- When the nests are cooked, place them on a wire rack to cool down.
- Take the yoghurt and stir through a healthy amount of strawberry jam, however much you fancy until it is nicely rippled.
- Take each nest and put a small layer of jam in the bottom, top with some of the yoghurt swirled with jam and then top with fresh strawberries.
- Repeat with the remaining nests and serve immediately.
This recipe is so easy and the jam tastes great, so I hope you give it a try.
Thanks for reading,