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.