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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Recipe: Pavlova

For the uninitiated (how have you survived without this treat?) this is a quint essential Australian dessert, featured at many a Summer barbeque.  It's basically a type of meringue with a crispy outer shell and a soft, marshmallowy interior... drool!

It's my hubby's favorite dessert and SO easy to make, I whipped one up last night!

4 eggwhites, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar (also known as superfine sugar)
2 teaspoons white vinegar

Traditional - whipped cream, passionfruit pulp and fresh fruit, usually strawberries
Healthier - your favorite yoghurt, berries, honey and mint sprigs
Fancy - double thick cream, stewed pears and grated chocolate


Thick, glossy eggwhites!
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Pop the eggwhites* in a clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Gradually add the sugar and continue whisking for around 10 minutes, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.
- With the beaters still running, add the vinegar and whisk until just combined.
- Turn off beaters and touch a little mixture between your fingers, if you still feel sugar granules, whisk for another minute.
- Shape the mixture into an 18cm round on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper.
- Turn oven down to 120°C (250°F) and bake for 1 hour.
- This is where I stray from the rules... I take the Pavlova straight out of the oven and let it cool completely, but most recipes say 'turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven'. I haven't had a flop yet so see what works for you.
- Add your topping of choice (use your imagination and whatever ingredients are fresh) and serve.
Serves 6.

* Be very careful separating your eggs, if any shell or yolk gets into the whites, the meringue will not triple in volume and become thick and glossy, like in the photo.
- The bowl and beaters must be clean, dry and room temperature, or the meringue won't rise.
- The low heat puffs up the meringue while the long cooking time dries it out to give you a crispy shell.
- DON'T open the oven door whilst cooking, it may cause the meringue to flop. 
- Store your pavlova, undressed, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. If dressed, best to keep in the fridge for a day or two.
- This recipe is so easy to halve, double or triple!  Just remember that the eggwhites will triple in volume.  In my experience most large bowls will hold 10-12 eggs.

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