The Aga makes very good Pavlovas and meringues, and they are such a great dessert for making ahead and for serving lots of people, as you can make them any shape or size you wish. It is so important to whisk the sugar well into the egg whites. You can exchange the pistachio for hazelnuts or almonds if you prefer.
4 egg whites
225g (8 oz) caster sugar
1 level teaspoon cornflour
1 teaspoon vinegar
50g (2 oz) pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
300ml (½ pint) double cream, whipped
350g (12 oz) fresh raspberries
50g (2 oz) butter
50g (2 oz) muscovado sugar
150ml (¼ pint) double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Line a large baking sheet with non-stick baking paper and, using a pencil, mark out a 12 x 30cm (4½ x 12 in) rectangle.
2. Whisk the egg whites on high speed until they are like a cloud and then gradually add the caster sugar a teaspoonful at a time, whisking all the time. When the whites look shiny, thick and stiff, mix the cornflour and vinegar together in a tiny bowl and then pour into the meringue. Add the chopped nuts and stir everything together to combine.
3. Fit a piping bag with a plain nozzle and fill with the meringue. Twist to seal the top. Pipe along the lines of the rectangle and then along the base to give an even thickness of meringue. Pipe on top of the outer edges to build up the sides, in order to give a basket of meringue.
4. Slide the meringue on to the grid shelf on the floor of the Roasting Oven with the cold sheet on the second set of runners for about 3–5 minutes until lightly golden. Transfer to the Simmering Oven for 1–1½ hours or until easy to lift off the paper.
5. Allow to cool on top of the Aga for about 30–45 minutes to dry out a little (a Pavlova middle should be soft). Peel away the paper and place on a serving plate.
6. Whisk the cream to soft peaks and spoon into the inside of the Pavlova, scattering the raspberries on top.
7. To make the butterscotch sauce, measure the butter, sugar and cream into a small pan and heat on the Boiling Plate. Stir until the butter has melted, and then bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Set aside to cool slightly and then drizzle over the raspberries and Pavlova walls to serve.
The meringue can be made up to a month ahead and kept covered in a cool dry place. Fill with cream up to 4 hours before serving. Pour over the sauce just before serving.
Cook in an oven preheated to 150°C/Fan 130°C/Gas 2 for an hour, switch off the oven and leave the Pavlova in the oven until cold.