Pavlova

Irrelevant of its origin, the pavlova is a well loved Australian dessert. The pavlova is super easy to make, and is an excellent standby dessert that can normally be made from the contents of your fridge. Plus, if like me, you make too many custard based desserts this is a great way to use your leftover egg whites that you have hoarded in the freezer. If you feel a little more adventurous, give this rolled pavlova a go.

Serves: Six greedy people
Cooking Time: Preparation 20 minutes, baking 1 and a half hours plus cooling time


Ingredients

+ 3 egg whites (about 100g)
+ 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice, white vinegar or cream of tartar
+ about 200g caster sugar (double the weight of the egg whites)
+ 1 teaspoon white vinegar
+ 1 tablespoon cornflour, sifted
+ cream for whipping and a touch of sugar (I like to use brown sugar in this instance)
+ toppings of some sort –
  • I have been using grilled nectarines (or other stone fruits) and any excess juices you get from resting the stone fruits, served with lime zest and fresh mint,
  • Fresh strawberries, halved and scattered on top are always a winner, or
  • Whatever is in season.

Method

Don’t even attempt this without an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Warm the egg whites slightly in a pan if they’re fridge cold, then pour into a bowl with the lemon juice. Beat until thick and fluffy, then gradually add the sugar and continue beating until all the sugar is mixed in, almost dissolved. To test this, rub a small amount of the mixture in between your fingers – you should just be able to feel the sugar grains. At this point, the meringue has also turned very thick and glossy, and absolutely holds its peaks firmly. This might take anywhere from 10-20 minutes of continuous beating depending on the power of your machine.

Line a baking tray with foil and heat the oven to a low 130°C. Fold in the vinegar, then the cornflour into the mixture. Spoon finished mixture onto a tray about 6cm high x 18cm across (or make individual ones). For the larger pavlova, bake for about one and half hours, then switch off the oven and leave it to cool inside.

The meringue will keep a few days at room temperature unfilled. Serve topped with the whipped cream and fruit.

Original recipe sourced from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet cookbook.

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