Pavlova is one of the best desserts ever ....it's basically a massive hit of cream, fresh fruit & sugar - yep, pretty ideal.
It also has a special place in my heart, as my mum makes a demon one (I've made a fair few in my time, but think old mother would still take me down in a pavlova-off).
And, in case you're still in need of reasons to whip one up, it's also a brilliant way of using up egg whites, which (from making pasta etc) i always seem to have a lot of.
You can use all sorts of fruit / nut / chocolate combos on them but certain fruits just dont work methinks, e.g apples, pears, pineapples, oranges, bananas etc... my favorites are things like strawberries, raspberries, peaches, mango, blueberries & passion fruit.
Anyway, the basic recipe i use:
(makes a bit of a monster one - enough for 8 people to gorge on, half the recipe if you like)
- egg whites - 6 large or 8 medium
- caster sugar (if you've left your spent vanilla pods in it all the better) - 320g or so
- white wine or rice vinegar - a teaspoon
- cornflour - a teaspoon
- cream - about 600ml
- a vanilla pod if you have one
- a load of fruit to whop on top
- Pre heat the oven to 140 degrees C
- Find a v.large bowl, tip in your whites and beat with electric whisk until firm peaks.
- Now add teaspoon of vinegar & cornflour, continue whisk and gradually add the sugar until all incorporated
- find a large baking tray and line with parchment (a drop of oil rubbed over parchment helps prevent stickidge)
- dollop the meringue mix all over in a haphazard fashion (few peaks are all good) until you have used it all up.
- bake in the oven for about an hour - if you want quite soft in the middle then turn it down to 100 degrees C when you put it in, if you like quite crispy then leave at 140.
- when it's had the hour turn the oven off and allow the thing to almost completely cool in there - otherwise it will crack like mad
- whip the cream until it's just floppy and doesn't run (be careful not to over-whip), oh and if you have a vanilla pod then scrape the seeds and add to the cream 1st.
- dollop the cream over the cooled meringue and top with tasty fruit and things like toasted flaked almonds or crushed toasted hazelnuts.
- for the record my 2 fav's are probably raspberry and toasted flaked almonds and mango & passion fruit.N.B if you want to posh it up bit more you can cut circles of meringue out 1st then cream and fruit them individually, like this:
Thanks again to benbroomfield.com for his artful snaps.