Fresh Fruit Pavlova
Oh I’m a sucker for pavlova. It’s light and when baked correctly is crispy on the outside and 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. And as advised by Syrie “if you use bananas in the topping, toss them in lemon juice to stop them going brown”.
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
- 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cups of whipping cream
- Fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, passionfruit, bananas, blueberries
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 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 Latest Experience
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 1/4 teaspoon to each.
In the past I haven’t added cornstarch. It didn’t seem to have an effect on the pavlova appearance, and it still tasted good. However I have read that the cornflower helps create that marshmallow-like effect on the inside of the pavlova. So best to follow the recipe and add it.
You can see from the photo’s in this baking experience that I didn’t use foil. Instead I used a re-useable non-stick baking sheet. It worked a treat.
You can also see from my photo’s that I used fresh banana, kiwi and mandarine orange to top the pavlova. I didn’t have fresh berries to add to this topping. So I defrosted a mixture of frozen raspberries and strawberries instead. I felt they were too soft after defrosting so I added them to the cream. They whisked into the cream with little effort and gave it a pink hue.
The one thing that I will do next time I bake this scrumptious dessert is pile the pavlova mixture higher than this attempt. My circle of mixture, I felt was a little too wide and I’d prefer more depth.
If you have any tips or tricks for a great pavlova I’d love to hear about it!