Saturday, January 23, 2010

CAUTION: Dessert Addiction Alert

I introduce to you... Pavlova

I can understand why both Australia and New Zealand have been staking claims to this dessert for decades, it's simple but incredible.  Since my first time whipping this together, it has been a staple in the household.  Actually, scratch that.  After 2 failed attempts due to texture issues (1st - my eggs were not whipped enough, and 2nd - the TINIEST bit of yolk got in and foiled the whole recipe), it has been a staple since my third go at it.

Basically, it is meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit.  Nowadays, there are hundreds of variations but my favorites are the more classic and when available I love to top it with strawberries and passionfruit pulp.  I often do a double-decker with alternating layers of meringue and cream. 

Although the issue regarding origin will probably never be resolved, there is agreement that the dessert was named after Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballet dancer from the '20's, who's dancing was described as 'light and airy'.  Thank you Anna for inspiring the creation of one of my favorite indulgences.  Here's my 'go-to' recipe:


4 eggwhites
pinch of salt
1 cup caster sugar *
2 tsp cornstarch (cornflour)
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (vanilla essence)
Whipped cream, to serve (homemade is a must!)
Fruit, to serve

* Although more difficult to find in the States, this is non-negotiable, you MUST use caster sugar


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 C).  Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Draw a circle if you are looking for a precise size or shape.

2. In a clean, dry bowl with a pinch of salt, whip egg white until light and fluffy and soft peaks form.

3. Gradually add sugar, whipping between additions until firm and glossy.

 4. Fold in cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla extract.

5. Mound onto baking sheet and shape into a circle with a spatula. 
(I have 2 mounds as I wanted 2 layers)

6. Bake for 1 - 1½ hours until just crisp on the outside. Allow to cool completely and top with whipped cream and fruit.

As a mentioned before, it's not a difficult recipe but quite particular.  Do not move to the next step until you are reached the desired consistency.  You can make the base a few days ahead and store in an airtight container until you are ready to serve.

It's a fun dessert to play around with, different toppings, sizes, minis, etc. Try it once and you'll be hooked!

1 comment:

  1. There is nothing better!!! Absolutely fantastic!



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