Monday, September 21, 2009


This is seriously one of the best desserts ever created! It comes from New Zealand (although the Australians like to say it comes from them) but since I lived in New Zealand for 18months I will side with them :) I was served Pavlova many times while living there and have tried a handful of different recipes. I thought I had it all figured out and then a friend who had just returned from New Zealand shared this one with me from The Joy of Baking website. This recipe gave GREAT results! Just remember to follow the directions EXACTLY or there is a good chance it won't turn out.
One big help is to let your eggs sit out at room temp so they aren't so cold. That will give you a fluffier egg white. Also, do not use your every day white sugar, use the Superfine sugar so that it will dissolve easier,. It is very important to have your sugar completely dissolve or your Pavlova will weep. (you don't want that) You can find superfine sugar in the sugar isle. Castor sugar is what the superfine sugar is called in New Zealand.
Also, you can use Cool Whip if you'd like, but to be authentic, you should use real whipping cream. In New Zealand, they never sweetened it like this recipe does. But that was OK because of the sweetness of the pavlova and fruit it tasted great. You can sweeten it if you'd like :)
They always used strawberries and kiwis and sometimes other fruit. I used mango as well this time.
A perfect pavlova will be moist and fluffy inside and have a light crust on the outside as you can see in this picture. there are more tips in the directions of this recipe. I also doubled the recipe so that there would be enough for our family of six. this takes some time and effort but is well worth it! Also, be sure not to have any loud noises or open the oven door while it is baking or it may cause it to fall.

4 large (120 grams) egg whites
1 cup (200 grams) superfine or castor sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour)
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fresh fruit - kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, passion fruit, peaches, pineapple, or other fruit of your choice

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (130 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch (18 cm) circle on the paper.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. (Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers). Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, fold in.
Gently spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)
The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.
Just before serving gently place the meringue onto a serving plate. Whip the cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Sweeten with the sugar and vanilla and then mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue. Arrange the fruit randomly, or in a decorative pattern, on top of the cream. Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold for more than a few hours.
Serves 6 to 8

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