A couple of years ago I visited the inaugural South of England Food & Drink Festival. It was one of the best foodie days out my husband and I had ever had. The atmosphere was so family friendly, the food stalls were great, and the indoor country market was full of local organic suppliers. While we were there we met a couple of local organic egg farmers. We couldn’t believe what great value their organic eggs were, so we went home with a few dozen which we quickly used up.
As the weeks passed by we completely forgot the name of the egg farmers (and the name of the food festival!), so we really had no idea where we could go to purchase more of their eggs.
Fast forward a couple of years, my husband and I were at watching Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast on TV. They were featuring a segment about food that goes to waste because supermarkets won’t sell it. And all because it’s just a little bit funny looking! Jamie and Jimmy visited an organic egg farm in Sussex that sold tiny little pullet eggs (these are the tiny first eggs hens start laying) to the public because the supermarkets won’t buy them because they’re too little. My husband realised that the egg farm that they were visiting just happened to be the same egg farm that we bought our eggs from at the food show a couple of years earlier.
Success! Thanks to Jamie & Jimmy we were able find out that the egg farm was only about a 40 minute drive away. A few weeks later we headed down to The Macs Farm to buy some eggs! There are several different grades of eggs that The Macs Farm sells. The majority of the eggs they sell to the public are the imperfect ones that the supermarkets won’t buy. Eggs that aren’t uniform in size or colour, or ones with wrinkly shells (which I’m told are laid by older hens). They also sell grade A eggs which are the same ones that you can buy in the supermarket. We ended up purchasing about 12 dozen eggs that day because they were such good value. Yes, 12 dozen! Did I mention we go through a lot of eggs???
Buying eggs straight from the farm is much more economical than buying them from the supermarket. A tray of 30 organic free range eggs will cost you £3.50 from The Macs Farm. 30 organic free range eggs from Tesco would cost you £9.75!
After getting home from The Macs Farm I was inspired to use some of my eggs to create a new dessert for the upcoming Easter holidays.
My Easter mini egg caramel Pavlova showcases beautiful fluffy clouds of egg white meringue, sandwiched between layers of whipped cream and dulce de leche caramel, all topped off with a pile of delicious chocolatey cadbury mini eggs. And we all know that no Easter is complete without chocolate mini eggs.
I really loved this pavlova. It’s so light and fluffy, and it won’t leave you feeling overly full after an indulgent Easter lunch. The added bonus is it’s super duper simple to make and assemble.
I used the Meringue Girls recipe for my pavlova discs, and I’ve always found to be pretty much fail proof. The key to the meringue recipe is to double the amount of sugar to egg whites.
Easter Mini Egg Caramel Pavlova
150g egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
300g castor sugar (must be double the weight of egg whites)
250ml whipped double cream
1-2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 can Carnation caramel
300g chocolate mini eggs (half of them chopped or crushed).
1. Line a shallow baking dish with parchment paper, pour in the sugar and bake for about 5 minutes at 200°C (400°F) until the edges just begin to melt.
2. Meanwhile, pour the egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixer (make sure it’s clean & grease free). Using the whisk attachment, whisk on low speed allowing bubbles to form, increase to high and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Egg whites should be stiff enough that you can turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out.
3. Remove the sugar from the oven and begin whisking again at high speed. Add the sugar to the egg whites one big spoonful at a time. Once all the sugar is added, continue to whisk for 5 – 7 minutes, or until all the sugar is dissolved. You should be able to rub the mixture between your fingers and not feel any grit from the sugar, and it forms a smooth shiny peak on the tip of your finger.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 100°C (200°F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and trace four 6 inch circles on the paper (two on each paper). Place a dab of meringue on the bottom corners the parchment, and press down so the paper sticks to the pan.
5. Spoon equal amounts of the meringue mixture into each of the four circles. Use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the meringue mixture evenly around the circle to form flat meringue discs.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the meringue discs can easily be lifted off the parchment paper with their bases in tact. Let cool completely. The meringues discs can easily be stored in an airtight container will keep for up to two weeks.
To assemble the pavlova:
1. In a medium bowl, combine the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla, and whip until soft peaks form.
2. Spoon a large dollop of cream onto a cake plate, and place a meringue disc on top. (The cream will help to prevent the pavlova from sliding around). Spoon a thick layer of the whipped cream on top of the meringue disc, and then drop the caramel in even dollops overtop of the cream.
3. Repeat step 2 until placing the last disc on top. Spoon the remaining cream on top to the final disc, and top with chocolate mini eggs. Serve immediately.
Any remaining pavlova can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for a day or two, but the crispness of the pavlova will begin to diminish.
And because my Easter mini egg caramel Pavlova has chocolate mini eggs on top, I’m submitting it to a couple of foodie blogger linkups this month with the theme of chocolate.