Ah Pavlova, how I love thee. For those of you not familiar with it- pavlova is like a giant meringue with whipped cream and fruit on top- whose origin is debated between Australia and New Zealand. But according to wikipedia- which of course we take as fact- “The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the more probable source.” So, ha! This recipe comes from NZ, where I studied abroad. I have thought about making it ever since my return- about 8 years now- but getting a shiny new KitchenAid mixer (thanks Debby and Henry!) made it all happen. Some manage fine w. a hand mixer- but I always had trouble w. egg whites with my shitty one- works much better if yours has a whisk attachment. American recipes i’ve seen use way more eggs and cream of tartar as an agent. While I am sure that would work- I decided to stick with the NZ recipe. Caster sugar is a more finely ground sugar- I think 10 times finer than granulated- don’t substitute confectioner! which is like 100 times more fine. To make my own caster sugar- I just put granulated in the food processor and pulsed for about 10 seconds. If you don’t have a food processor- I am guessing that you can get away with granulated. Now, for some reason I don’t really understand- you are supposed to allow this to cool completely in the oven- this keeps it crisp? A little annoying- because I couldn’t open the door to see if it all caved in. The back-up plan was going to be Ina’s Eton Mess recipe- so then u just crush up the meringue- and put it in a glass- layered w. strawberries and whipped cream- a tasty back up if I ever heard one- so I wasn’t too worried. Was going to top w. Balsamic strawberries but couldn’t find any strawbs. According to JP (who’s Australian) passion fruit is the best way to go.
2 Egg Whites
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon cornflour (i take this to be cornstarch)
4 tablespoons boiling water (1/4 cup)
Line a baking sheet w. parchment paper. Use a plate or some such to trace an 11 inch cirlce (i’d probably go smaller next time- 9 or 10 inches). Place all ingredients in a bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high speed until very stiff (about 15 mins- less than 10 min if using a kitchenaid). Spread onto baking sheet within the circle. Bake in a moderate over (350 degrees) for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 225 and bake a further 45 mins. Cool in oven (a couple hours).
1 cup heavy cream
dash of Vanilla extract
Beat on high- only take a few minutes. Usually add confectioner sugar- but left it out this time- Pavlova is sweet enough already.