Pavlova!

After getting an e-mail from an Australian family friend containing a pavlova recipe, I figured it was time to get rid of my egg-whites left over from my custard obsession.

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Pavlova (pævˈləʊvə):

noun. dessert  Often shortened to: pav 

meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit

named after Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova

Here’s the recipe:

Foolproof Pavlova

2 egg whites,
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups caster sugar (superfine sugar – dissolves faster than granulated)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 tablespoons boiling water

Put all in mixing bowl, beat with electric beater till stiff peaks form.
Pile onto greased pavlova plate or tin (or piece of parchment paper on a pizza pan), Bake in centre of oven for ten mins (170 C/340 F), then reduce to very slow (140 C/280 F) for 40 minutes
Fill with your favourite fruits and whipped cream. Serves 6

I know what you’re thinking.  “Are you telling me to put EVERYTHING in the mixing bowl at the same time? Isn’t the boiling water going to cook the egg and won’t the rest of the ingredients make the mixture too heavy to whip up?”  I had the same reaction.

So at first I didn’t trust the recipe.  I started by adding the salt to the eggs and beating them until foamy.  Then I couldn’t figure out what to do next, so I just put everything in the bowl (boiling water last while beating mixture), turned on my electric beater to the highest setting, and waited.

and waited.

FINALLY (and with a few pinches of cream of tartar in hopes that it would go faster) the mixture reached stiff peaks.

So I piled it onto a piece of parchment paper on a pizza pan and stuck it in the oven.

It came out like this:

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I’m not sure what the cracks come from, so it would be great if anyone with meringue experience would be so kind as to enlighten me.

If I did it again, I think I would spread the meringue thinner so that the whipped cream and fruit would have more room.

After the meringue cooled, I promptly over-whipped my 250 g carton of whipping cream (again – please help!) and slathered it over my meringue.

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Then I stuck it in the fridge for an hour or two so that the whipped cream would soften the meringue inside.

Now for fruit.

According to the Australian friend, passionfruit is a must, but I couldn’t find any anywhere!  Not even canned.  If you are so lucky to find some though, don’t sieve out the seeds.

Instead of passionfruit, I bought a can of pineapple and papaya in a light syrup.

Basically, I just threw in all the fruits we had in the kitchen – strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, papaya, banana

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I had drained the pineapple and papaya, but added back in a little bit of the syrup to coat all the fruits.

Finally, I heaped the whole pile onto the pavlova.  Don’t forget a nice green sprig of mint!

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And there you have it!  My first ever pavlova.  Be warned, this is for sweet lovers only.  Also, don’t go to great lengths to sweeten the whipped cream and fruit.  The tartness of the fruit is a good balance for the sweet meringue.

Oh, and one last tip.  Eat it in a bowl!  This is one messy dessert.

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