Nothing says summer in Australia like a thick decadent slice of pavlova topped with lashings of cream, fresh fruit and passionfruit pulp. There's no other dessert that's quite like it. For those who have never tried it, imagine a thick slice of meringue with a crunchy crust and marshmallowy center that's topped with thick whipped cream and fruit. Now that I've set the stage, let me just say this has been one of the most stressful, exhausting and rewarding baking efforts I have attempted thus far. The ingredients may seem few and the methods may sound simple but don't let that fool you. After failing miserably with my first attempt, I was determined to make it work and whisked away into the week hours of the night. The result was a huge success which leads me to believe that this dessert is made for late night baking.
Here are some tips for the perfect pav:
1. Ensure eggs are at room temperature. I like to sit mine in warm water for 5 minutes.
2. Your mixing bowl needs to be spotless, rubbing lemon will help clean the bowl while residue juice will help set the egg whites.
3. Start mixing the egg whites on slow speed gradually increasing to medium. You want to create an airy texture so do not immerse the entire beater into eggs.
4. One of the main differences between a meringue and pavlova base is that cream of tartar is used to help set a meringue while corn flour is used for pavlova.
5. When moulding the mixture, make a well in the center so the cream and fruit have a place to sit.
6. Start with the oven preheated at 300 degrees, once you've placed the pavlova in, reduce to 250. The temperature change will ensure a nice crunchy crust.
7. Once the pavlova is done baking, allow to cool completely in oven. Baking late at night is a good idea as the pavlova can sit in the oven to cool overnight.
8. Chill beaters and bowl before you begin whipping cream for topping. Adding a touch of cream of tartar will help the cream set.
|Whisk egg whites till firm and glossy
|Pavlova shell ready for decorating.
|Kiwi and strawberries are a classic combo
|Spoon some passionfruit pulp over the top and serve!
4 large egg whites at room temperature
1 cup of castor sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tbsp corn starch
1 cup heavy whipping cream chilled
1 tbsp powder sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Fresh fruit and passionfruit pulp (if available)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Line baking tray with aluminum foil, draw 7 inch circle. Grease the tray and lightly dust with corn starch.
3. With an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a clean dry bowl till soft peaks form.
4. Gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating constantly till sugar dissolves and mixture is thick and glossy.
5. Lightly fold in the vanilla, corn starch and vinegar.
6. Spoon mixture onto the circle and mould into a cake form with concave top.
7. Place in oven and reduce heat to 250 degrees.
8. Bake for 1 hour or until dry and crisp. Turn off oven and leave pavlova to cool completely with oven door closed or slightly ajar. The pavlova shell will harden once cooled.
9. Once cooled, store in a cool dry place till ready to serve.
10. Whisk whipping cream with sugar and cream of tartar till firm peaks form. Spread onto pavlova and decorate with fruit. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from taste.com.au