Thursday, May 30, 2013


Pavlova for a Christmas party - in seasonal colors
I have had SO many requests for this recipe... so here it is. Pavlova!

This is a spectacular dessert - but not without some contention. It was created to honor the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. The contention lies between Australia and New Zealand... as to which nation can rightfully claim it's invention. Regardless of the origins, Pavlova has become a staple dish for Australian BBQs or parties. My mother makes a brilliant Pavlova - so quite frankly, I never bothered trying. 
When we were asked to our first American 'Pot Luck', Paul and I both decided we needed to take along a Pavlova. We were surprised when one of the guests stated "Oh! A Pavlova" and encouraged the other guests to try it. Apparently the guest had spend many years in Australia and was very accustomed to the dish. Our first attempt turned out quite well. Subsequent attempts were hit and miss. Once we got a 'real' mixer, our results have been consistently successful.  

Since our first attempt, I have made this dessert for countless parties and pot lucks. It has always been very well received - as it is considered somewhat 'unique'. But... do you think I could find photos? This was a hard task. Apparently I have made many but photographed few. 
My go-to recipe is from the most-excellent-of-all-time-cookbook, The Cooks Companion by Stephanie Alexander. The original recipe can be found here, with a step-by-step video on how to make it here

My version is for a slightly larger Pavlova using 6 egg whites. I use this many egg whites as we often have several containers of egg whites in our freezer, all containing three egg-whites left over from Paul making Aioli or Zabaglione. I have increased the ingredients proportionally - but it is still the same recipe/method. I would recommend that first-time Pavlova makers start with the original recipe, until it is perfected. The quantities below will serve around 9 to 12 people. 

6 egg whites (6 fl oz)
pinch salt 
375g (13oz) caster sugar* 
3 tsp corn starch 
1 ½ tsp white-wine vinegar 
few drops pure vanilla
1 pint (450 ml) heavy whipping cream (firmly whipped)
fresh fruit to decorate

Preheat the Oven to 355℉. Line a Cookie Sheet with Baking / Parchment Paper. On the reverse side, draw a 9" (23cm) circle on the paper (so it shows through). 
Beat egg whites with salt until satiny peaks form. 
Beat in sugar, a third at a time until meringue is stiff and shiny. 
Sprinkle over corn starch, vinegar and vanilla and fold through gently. 
Mound mix onto paper-lined baking tray within circle, flattening top and smoothing sides. 
Place in oven. Immediately reduce heat to 300℉ and bake for 30 minutes. 
Reduce oven temperature to 250℉ and bake for a further 45 minutes. 
Turn off oven and leave Pavlova in cooling oven to cool completely. 

Before serving, carefully invert Pavlova onto a serving platter. Inverting the Pavlova gives the crisp 'crust' to the bottom. Top with whipped cream and decorate with the fruit of your choice. 

Egg whites MUST be at room temperature. 
*I use regular white sugar. I find this has a finer texture in the US than in Australia. If I have time, I will pulse the sugar in my blender for a minute or so to ensure it has a finer texture (although as I am typically making this late at night, after the kids are in bed - I don't always bother!) 
This is a recipe to practice. Every oven has it's own foibles, and this can make a significant difference. 
Beware that the Pavlova is likely to implode when inverting it. Sometimes this is a two-person job! 
Fruits I typically use: strawberries, kiwi, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, slices of orange, fresh mango, can of crushed pineapple (juice drained), banana, can mandarin segments (drained). Sometimes I decorate using concentric rings of different fruits, other times I randomly scatter fruit across the top. The BEST fruit to use is the pulp from passionfruit - simple, tart and the perfect foil for the sweetness of the meringue. Unfortunately, where we live, we find passionfruit next to impossible to find and/or ridiculously expensive. 

No comments:

Post a Comment