Saturday, February 15, 2014

Yes, You Can Make a Pavlova

Pavlova is, depending on who you ask, a traditionally Australian or New Zealand dessert. It's essentially a large meringue: crispy on the outside with a soft, marshmallow-like texture on the inside, decorated with whipped cream and fruit (strawberries, kiwi fruit, passionfruit, raspberries, normally things like that).

When we lived in America I was craving pavlova, but the only way to get one would be to make one. I was a bit nervous, because they're meant to be difficult, but I was surprised at how easy it actually is.

Here is my recipe: I hope you have success with it too!

My first pavlova: Christmas 2010

4 egg whites, preferably at room temperature (but it's not essential)
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)

300ml whipping cream (heavy cream)
fruit to decorate

Preheat the oven to 150C (300F). Line a baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper) and draw a 9 inch circle on it. I normally just trace around a small side plate. This helps make your pav the correct size so it lessens the chance of it cracking and falling.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add in sugar, beating well after each addition. One tablespoon at a time is best. Beat this mixture until it's thick and glossy.

Gently fold in the vanilla, lemon juice and cornflour.

Spoon mixture into the circle you've drawn on the baking paper. Working from the inside, spread the mixture out towards the edge. You should build up the edge slightly so that the border is taller than the middle.

Bake for one hour. It's really important that you don't open the oven door at all during this time.

Once the hour is up, turn the oven off, but don't open the door. Let the pavlova cool down in there with the oven. I think the minimum amount of time this has taken is three hours, but I'll usually make the pavlova at night and keep it in the oven til the morning.

Once it's ready to serve, whip the cream and place it in the centre of the pavlova. Decorate with fruit and serve it up like slices of cake! You should do this just before serving, because the pav can get a bit soggy if this is done too far in advance.

Don't worry if your pavlova cracked even after you took all those precautions. You can hide a multitude of sins with good placement of cream. Don't use sweetened cream--you want to use plain cream to cut the sweetness of the pavlova. In case you weren't paying attention earlier on, there is a lot of sugar in that thing. But it's so yummy that it's totally worth it.

The pavlova I made yesterday.


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