Since it was someone’s very big special day yesterday and that special someone loooooves pavlova so much he may or may not have named his company “Pavlova Systems”, okay so the cat’s outta the bag and let’s say he did…. and that special someone wanted his favorite dessert which leads me to now…. teaching you lot how to perfect making a pavlova. Which for the record, all you yanks out there, is not “just a giant meringue” this kind of blasphemous talk will get you a sock in face and not much else!!
Gone however are the day’s when everyone’s Nana whipped up a pavlova at given opportunity and the ubiquitous pavlova made it’s entrance at parties, unfortunately these golden days are long gone and now you buy them at the supermarket…. pre-friggin-made, unheard of, what, pre-made, I said, I never thought I’d see the day, and technically since I’m here, I don’t but I’m outraged no less. And nothing was more embarrassing than bringing your new husband home to the motherland and talking it up how much he would be practically bathed in pavlova, that every man and his dog, or just family members would be bending over backwards to present their very own confection delight for his taste and approval, only to be met with one lousy store bought one! I guess I think a bit too highly of myself eh?
There are really only a couple of rules to making a pav, 1. is actually you never know how its going to come out, you can improve your odds but essentially you’re just the side kick and if it decides to be as flat as a friggin pancake you don’t have a hope in hell. 2. you CANNOT go too slowly when adding the sugar…. if you’re adding the sugar and it feels like the most painful cooking experience thus far, then you’ve most likely nailed it….if not you’re going too fast. 3. Do not under any circumstances open the oven…. ever, in fact, leave the room, don’t even look at it, set a timer, when it’s done, turn off the oven and leave again…. go to a movie, play frisbee, walk the damn dog, just do whatever it is you people do, I don’t really care, just resist the temptation and leave it alone. 4. Yes it’s really really worth it!
Traditionally the perfect pavlova is a thin crunchy exterior shell and a soft chewy melts into your mouth interior……. ahhhh a sigh of satisfaction. The standard topping is passion fruit, which grows on vines pretty commonly in your back N.Z garden, but will cost you at least one of your arms here, and anyway I couldn’t find a passion fruit in these neck of the woods, so the next best combo is blueberries and some common as muck sliced kiwis…. a little tradition will go a long way.
3 egg whites
1 c superfine sugar
3 tbsp cold water
1 tsp white vinegar, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 3 tsp cornstarch
Topping: whipped cream and your fruit of choice
MUY IMPORTANTE! Make sure the bowl and beaters of either standing mixing or hand mixer are super clean, otherwise they will not whip your eggs into the fluffy consistency we are looking for. Having said that beat eggs until stiff and dry. Add water, beat again. Add sugar, VERY VERY gradually until glossy. Slow beater add vinegar, vanilla and cornstarch. Scoop out onto baking sheet lined with parchment and greased. Place into oven for exactly 50 mins (please make sure your oven runs true to temperature, ie a thermometer, if not adjust so it is a true reading of 300F), bake, when done turn oven off and leave to cool inside.
Top with whipped cream and fruit. You have now made and eaten your first Pavlova, congrats!