When I want to make something simple and pretty but makes a beautiful centrepiece to gawk at, I make the pavlova. See those leftover eggwhites, perhaps after baking tons of lapis cakes (layer cakes) or pastry cream, such a waste to throw, make little mini pavs or a large one, eggwhite omelette or steamed eggwhite cakes, etc..etc…plenty options! The pavlova itself to me, is a beautiful, sexy, enticing dessert. Why? I would say watching the frills of the whipped egg whites transforming into a gorgeous meringue and making little peaks at the side before baking makes me smile. That is enticing enough for me, what’s more when it has a topping! Then when it is ready and cooled, you cut, displaying the inside that is this soft, luscious, marshmallowy texture. When you close your eyes and bite into it, it’s like this airy, light sugary heaven! The origins of this pavlova is of course simply inspired by the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. I guess it is because of those pretty frilly tutu ballerina skirts that look like a fluffy meringue that made this dessert popular.
The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the probable source.The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals.
Who would think you’d have a dessert named after you, I would be so greatly honoured. Making pavlova is tricky as well, testing your patience at times. You cannot afford to overbeat the eggwhites as it will produce a soapy foamy- like texture and that’s bust! Believe me its like making macarons. You have to beat the sugar right until you do not feel any grainy texture left, then with a light hand, fold in the vinegar and cornstarch. When it goes into the oven, I like licking off the spatula, like a sugary orgasmic feeling of eating marshmallow already! There are two recipes that I follow there is one by Donna Hay and one from Joy of Baking. I want to share the one by Donna Hay. Both have been tried and tested and worked really well. Have a great “meringuey” day!
Recipe for Pavlova as follows:
150ml eggwhites (approx 4 eggwhites)
220g (1 cup) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) sifted
2 tsps white vinegar
For topping there various ways:
250ml single pouring cream ( I did not put pouring cream just pulps from four passionfruits scattered)
250g strawberries hulled ( I used 1 punnet of raspberries) hulled and halved.
Preheat oven to 150C (300F), place eggwhites in a bowl of an electric mixer and beat until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, whisk until stiff and glossy and that there are no sugary grainy texture. (test by feeling abit between your fingers)
Add the flour and vinegar and whisk until just combined. Alternately you may also fold in whit a spatula but be very light handed please, you do not want to take the air out of the whisked meringue.
Shape the meringue mixture on a baking tray lined with baking paper and shape into an 18-20cm round (this will rise believe me!) Reduce the oven to 120C (250F) bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. When done, turn the oven off and leave the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.
To make the topping, whisk the cream until stiff peaks form, do note the cream must be very cold. Spread over the pavlova, then top with passionfruit and strawberries. Serves 8.
FoodNote: I did not use cream, therefore only fresh fruit, you can top pavlova according to your fancy. Every oven is different so adjust accordingly. For those who have fan in their ovens please do not use fan when baking pavlova. Just for info I baked mine at 130C-150C.
* You’ll know when the meringue is stiff and glossy because the mixture will have tripled in volume and stands up when the beaters are lifted.
* The low heat puffs up the meringue while the long cooking time dries it out to give you a lovely crisp shell.
* Store your pavlova, undressed, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. (all adapted from Donna Hay.com.au)