September 11, 2009
Pavlova is one of our family’s very favourite desserts. They are surprisingly easy to make with a little practice and can be quite a showpiece for your dinner party.
NOTE: Pavlovas should be baked in dry weather!! Otherwise they will be stickier than they should be.
4 large egg whites
2 pinches salt
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla – optional
Whipping cream and fruit – kiwis, mangoes and strawberries are traditional. Any soft fruit or berries are also delicious.
Optional: Raspberry Sauce – see separate post. Especially good with peaches on the pavlova.
LIGHTLY butter a 12 inch pizza pan or cookie sheet (the shinier the better) and line with parchment paper or foil. LIGHTLY butter the paper and dust with cornstarch. Preheat oven to 300 F.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the sugar mixture to the egg whites gradually (about 2 tbsp. at a time), beating well after each addition. Mixture should be very stiff and shiny. Quickly beat in vinegar and vanilla only until well blended.
Spoon meringue into centre of baking pan. Using the back of a large dessert spoon, shape into approximately 9 inch circle, smoothing out top (I use a metal spatula drawn over the top). Then create a slight indentation in the top – this helps control cracking.
Put pavlova in oven and immediately turn the oven down to 250 F. Bake for 1 ½ hours (longer for crispier and if oven is not as hot). Turn oven off and leave pavlova in oven to cool and dry out for several hours (best done overnight).
Just before serving, peel off wax paper, spoon whipping cream onto pavlova, and decorate top with fruit. Raspberry Sauce may be drizzled over the top, if desired.
NOTE: Pavlovas do crack so just cover the cracks with whipped cream!!
Optional chocolate layer: Melt 6 – 8 oz. of chocolate (dark, semi-sweet or milk is your choice) and stir in 3 or 4 tbsp. cream. Cool to room temperature then spread over the pavlova. Allow to set before continuing with the whipped cream, etc.