Fresh Fruit Pavlova
Oh I’m a sucker for pavlova. It’s light and when baked correctly has a light crisp or crunch on the outside and is soft and marshmallow-like on the inside. Smothered in fresh cream and fruit. Mmm, nom bloody nom.
It has never been formally proven who invented the Pavlova but it has come down to it being either a New Zealand or an Australian dish. But the debate of who can claim it still goes on. What has been agreed on though is that it was named after a Russian ballerina called Anna Pavlova. Anyhoo enough of my ramblings!
Any day is a good day to rustle up a pavlova. No reason is needed other than to have a goo for a slice. I found a really simple recipe on About.com back in 2013 that I still use today. The recipe was written by Syrie Wongkaew, who was the food-loving Australian editor of taste.com.au. However this site is now known as thespruceeats.com. So you can find the full recipe here.
Before you Bake
When preparing a Pavlova recipe, the most important thing is to have exceptionally clean utensils. As Syrie puts it “The success of the meringue depends on it”. Making sure that the egg whites are at room temperature before you heat them is also high on the success rate. Pavlovas can deflate, and can also form cracks when you open the oven. But fret not because an extra dollop of whipped cream and some fresh fruit can easily fill in the hole and distract from an otherwise perfectly pretty pavlova. To make your pavlova a piece de resistance top with your favourite fruits.
Following Syrie’s recipe (ingredients and method included below), I’ve included my baking experience and step by step photo’s.
Australian / New Zealand Pavlova Recipe
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
- 4 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1 cup of Castor sugar
- 1 tsp of white vinegar *see side note
- 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch
- 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
- Freshly whipped cream
- Fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, passionfruit, bananas, blueberries.
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice * see side note
- Preheat the oven to 275F (140C) and place the rack in middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with foil and draw a 7 inch circle on the foil with the blunt edge of a knife (don’t tear the foil). Set aside.
- In a clean, medium-sized metal bowl, beat the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.
- Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time. Don’t just lump the sugar in the bowl and never stop beating the eggs until you finish the sugar. Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.
- Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.
- Now gently spread the meringue in the circle on the foil to make a circular base. Make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher then the centre so you have a very slight well in the middle.
- Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it goes a very pale, pinkish egg shell colour.
- Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly.
- Just before serving, take the meringue out of the oven and remove it gently from the foil and place on a plate.
- Whip the cream with the vanilla extract until it forms peaks. Prepare the fruit by washing and slicing.
- Gently spread the cream to the top of the meringue with a spatula and arrange the fruit on top.
My Pavlova Experience – Side Notes and Top Tips:
- This is an easy recipe to follow. It doesn’t tell you how much vanilla extract to add to the egg white mixture, nor to the cream to top. But when I bake it, I add a 1/2 teaspoon to each.
- You can see from the photos that I don’t use foil. Instead I used a re-useable non-stick baking sheet. It works a treat. And of course is better for my sustainable living goal! The images below are pre-oven and baked.
- The recipe stated white vinegar but I use white wine vinegar. You can use either but I feel white wine vinegar which is made from wine as opposed to grain works better. White wine vinegar is more mellow in taste, and has more uses throughout your kitchen.
- You can also see from my photos that I topped my pavlova with fresh cream, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin orange, kiwi and banana. To keep the banana looking fresh and prevent them from turning brown I sliced it and tossed it in the tablespoon of lemon juice as per ingredients.
- You can also top yours with icing sugar. Or make a simple strawberry sauce with water, caster sugar and strawberries.
- I’ve seen a number of recipes that all advise different oven temperatures. Some suggest you turn down your oven after 10 minutes. The temperature of 140C Fan works for me but I did turn it to 120 after about 30 minutes.
- Remember – your pavlova does not need to be snow white. Some of the best baked and tasting ones have had a golden hue. I also used Madagascan Vanilla Extract in the pictured pavlova, so this might have influenced the final colour? The goal is to have a light crunch on the outside and marshmallow on the inside. And that’s exactly what this recipe provides. If whiteness is a goal, try baking at a lower temperature. Neither does it need to be perfectly round – I love a bit of character to my baking!
If you have any tips or tricks for a great pavlova I’d love to hear about it!
For more easy but delicious recipes visit our recipe page here.
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