This is another updated blog post for a recipe I’ve done a couple times before. The first time was in July 2016, and the second time was in the form of a pavlova wreath from Christmas last year. I am sorry for the lack of new recipes; I’ve been struggling to find inspiration lately. So today we’ll be discussing how to achieve the perfect pavlova, crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. I accidentally cracked the shell when I was decorating it, as a strawberry slid off the top and simply broke the pavlova.Here are some tips and tricks I hope you’ll find useful:
1) The bowl and utensils should be grease free and extremely clean, as fat will prevent the egg whites from whipping to their full volume. If you are concerned about this, simply wipe your bowl and the beaters with lemon juice/vinegar.
2) The egg whites should not contain any egg yolks, as this will also prevent the egg whites from whipping. I find that they are easier to seperate when cold, but then should be bought to room temperature to ensure the meringue reaches full volume.
3) The sugar should be added gradually, a teaspoon at a time, mixing well in between each addition in order for it to properly dissolve. Once all the sugar is added, I like to beat the meringue on high speed for a further 5-7 minutes for it to reach stiff peaks. This results in a meringue that is easier to shape, and results in a pavlova that is soft in the centre.4) The cornstarch and vinegar creates a soft pavlova, and is folded after the meringue is beat to stiff peaks. This should be done gently to retain the air that was just created from whipping the egg whites.
5) The pavlova is shaped through upward swipes and an indent/nest in the centre to ensure even cracking.
5) The oven is first preheated at a high temperature first, then reduced to a lower temperature in order to ensure the pavlova bakes long and slow. This ensures a crisp outside and marshmallowy centre. After baking, it is cooled with the door ajar so that the cracking is more controlled.
7) Finally, when decorating, I prefer to add no sugar in the cream since the pavlova is already quite sweet. Also, the combination of fruits should have some tartness – in this case the passionfruit.
I hope you’re having a great week, and please enjoy the recipe!
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup (300g) caster sugar
- 3 teaspoons cornflour, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 1/2 tsp vinegar
- 300mL thickened cream, whipped
- Summer fruit of your choice (blueberries, strawberries, passionfruit etc.)
- Preheat oven to 150°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and draw a 20cm (8 inch) circle. Flip the paper over.
- Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed. Gradually increase the speed until soft peaks form.
- Very gradually add the sugar, a teaspoon at a time, whilst beating on medium-high speed.
- Once all the sugar is added, beat on high speed for 5-7 minutes until stiff peaks form.
- Add sifted cornflour, vinegar and vanilla seeds (or vanilla extract). Gently fold until completely combined.
- Spoon the mixture onto the baking paper. Using the circle as a guide, shape into a tall circular shape. Then, using an off set spatula, swipe the side of the meringue upwards and create an indent/nest in the centre.
- Place into preheated oven (on bottom rack) and reduce temperature to 120°C. Bake for 70 minutes.
- Turn oven off. Leave pavlova in the oven with door ajar to cool completely.
- When cool, take it out of the oven and transfer onto a plate.
- Decorate with whipped cream and summer fruit of your choice.
- Refrigerate until cool and ready serve!