Firstly, let’s get something straight: the pavlova is ours. The Aussies can claim it all they like – they are well practised at doing just that – though how most of them can live with their conscience is beyond me. I’ll admit that this recipe gave Haydo and me a few sleepless nights. Most pav recipes are very similar in their ingredients; however, it’s the method and temperature of the oven that we found made the real difference. We think we have worked it out through trial and error, and we have absolute faith that this recipe is a real beauty – we have both made it a number of times now with excellent results.
I love a pavlova that has a great bark (as in the bark of a tree), with minimal or no cracking, encapsulating a wonderful, soft, marshmallow-like centre. Besides it being our country’s most famous (and I’m picking our favourite) dessert, I have always felt the great thing about a pav is that it becomes this sweet vehicle to show off the abundance in our nation’s fruit bowl. No matter what time of the year, the pav highlights what’s in season.
6 large egg whites, at room temperature 2 cups (460g) caster sugar
2 teaspoons malt vinegar
2 tablespoons cornflour whipped cream, to serve fresh seasonal fruit of choice, to serve
Preheat the oven to 120°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. If you like, trace a circle onto the paper around something like a cake-tin bottom to give you a guide for when you form the pav. The smaller the circle, the higher the pav. Grease the paper with a little butter.
Set up your stand mixer and fit it with the whisk attachment, or use a handheld electric whisk. Make sure the mixing bowl is super clean. (I like to wipe mine out with a splash of vinegar to remove any possible grease that may be lining the bowl since I last used it.)
Add the egg whites to the bowl and whisk at high speed until frothy, then begin to add the caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, giving the egg whites time to absorb the sugar – this should take around 10 minutes. The meringue should be beautifully stiff and shiny. Whisk in the vinegar, then remove the bowl from the cake mixer.
Next sift over the cornflour, a little at a time, folding it through the meringue with a rubber spatula until mixed. Carefully spoon out the meringue onto the prepared tray and form your pavlova. Once you are happy with its shape, place it quickly in the oven. Bake for 1½ hours, then turn off the oven. Leave in the oven without opening the oven door to completely cool. It’s best if you leave it overnight.
The pavlova is ready for your seasonal fruit touch. Lashings of whipped cream over the top first, then knock yourself out with your personal fruity combination!
I HAVE ALWAYS FELT THE GREAT THING ABOUT A PAV
IS THAT IT BECOMES THIS SWEET VEHICLE TO SHOW OFF THE ABUNDANCE IN OUR NATION’S FRUIT BOWL.
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