Inspired by the flavours of Australian summer, this stunning pavlova wreath is the perfect festive centrepiece. Begin this recipe the day before.
400 ml crème fraîche
180 gm store-bought lemon curd
240 gm mangoes (about 3), peeled and thinly sliced lengthways
280 gm (2 cups) macadamias, roasted and coarsely chopped
6 egg whites
330 gm (1½ cups) caster sugar
3 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp cornflour, sifted
Spiced white chocolate leaves
200 gm white chocolate, coarsely chopped
¼ tsp finely grated nutmeg
20 round mint leaves
1.Preheat oven to 130°C fan-forced and grease a large oven tray. Trace a 27cm-diameter circle on a piece of baking paper, then trace a 15.5cm-diameter circle in centre of first circle. Place, pencil side-down, on the tray (this will be the template for the wreath).
2.For pavlova, whisk egg whites in an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form (4 minutes). With motor running, gradually add sugar and whisk until firm and glossy and sugar is dissolved (15 minutes). Fold in lemon juice then fold in cornflour. Spoon out ½ cup meringue in consecutive spoonfuls following the marked outline to form the wreath. Using the back of a spoon, make shallow depressions around the top of the wreath, moving the tip of the spoon around the edge of the wreath, pushing it in and pulling it back to make the pavlova “thorns”. Bake for 10 minutes at 130°C, then reduce oven to 100°C and bake until pavlova is crisp but not coloured (1½ hours). Turn off oven and cool completely with door ajar (for at least 6 hours or overnight).
3.Meanwhile, temper chocolate for chocolate leaves. Add grated nutmeg to melted tempered chocolate. Paint back of mint leaves with a pastry brush 1mm thick with spiced chocolate. Place on a wire rack, painted-side up, in the refrigerator until set (30 minutes). Once set, gently peel off leaves and refrigerate in an airtight container until required.
4.To serve, place pavlova on a platter. Spoon swirls of crème fraîche in even portions in the indents around wreath, followed by small spoonfuls of lemon curd. Arrange mango slices on top of wreath and scatter over macadamias. To finish, place mint leaves around wreath and using tweezers carefully place torn sheets of gold leaf, if using.