How to Make Perfect Pavlova: Plus A Little Tip to Stop Your Meringue Mix From Sticking to The Paper
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A Fool Proof Easy Recipe
Ingredients: serves 6
- 4 large very fresh egg whites
- 200 grams of (very fine crystal) caster sugar sieved
- pinch of salt
- Set your oven to 130 °C, 260 °F or just under gas mark 2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Drizzle a little vegetable oil over the greaseproof paper and rub it in well using your finger tips. Be sure to cover the whole sheet; this will stop your pavlova from sticking .
- In a large spotless bowl, whisk your egg whites (make absolutely sure no egg yolk or shell gets into your bowl) till they form perfect firm peeks.
- The mix shouldn't move if you tilt the bowl. Gradually add in the sugar and salt. Continue to whisk till you have lovely glossy firm peeks. The whites should stick to the whisk like the top picture.
- Tip the mixture on to your baking tray in one large blob or smaller individual ones (like the picture).
- Place in the middle of your oven for around an hour or until the outside is crisp (don't be tempted to press the mixture to see if it's ready or you'll crack it) the inside should be chewy and googey like the picture.
- Let your pavlova completely cool in the oven, leaving the door just open (I use an old wine cork as a wedge) before handling it, thus preventing your pavlova from cracking .
- Whip up some cream, about 200 ml with half a teaspoon of caster sugar. Smother the middle of your pavlova with the cream and decorate with fruit. Strawberries do it for me. I marinade them in a splash of Grand Marnier for about an hour, before I top my pavlova. Absolute heaven.
More Delicious Suggestions:
- Most fruits love pavlova. Opt for kiwi, fresh peaches or plums, sliced pineapple chunks, passion fruit or mix and match your favorites. Blueberries and raspberries are a great combination. The colours too are fantastic.
- If you really want to impress, grate a little good quality dark chocolate or good quality white chocolate over your fruit, wonderful.
- Another tip; make slightly thinner pavlovas and layer them with the cream and fruit to make an impressive tower of gorgeous dessert. Dust the top with icing sugar and give your taste buds a tickling.
- Another great idea is the traditional English dessert formally known as Eton Mess. Break up the meringue into a large bowl together with the cream and fruit. Mix and serve in individual glass dessert dishes. This layered pavlova, cream and fruit dish creates an eyecatching dessert and tastes fabulous. Perhaps the origins of this dessert was a ruined pavlova. Great save I say!
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For non Fruit Lovers
If you don't fancy fruit for a topping there are many other choices.
Below are my top ten great non fruit fillers...
- crushed shelled pistachios
- lightly toasted almonds
- finely crushed brazil nuts
- mini chocolate buttons
- mini chocolate smarties
- crumbled cadbury flakes (yummy)
- assorted cake decorations; hundreds and thousands, silver balls, chocolate sprinkles
- edible flowers
- sugar decorations
- caramel or chocolate sauce (lightly drizzled back and forth over the whipped cream)
The combination between nuts and fruit is delightful and very impressive for a special occasion like a dinner party or a family celebration.
Almonds and strawberries make an excellent marriage. Brazil nuts and peaches go wonderfully together.
Try pistachios and chocolate sauce or chopped banana with a rich caramel sauce. The bottom line is there's no rule to which topping you can or can't use.
Experiment with flavors. If you like the combination and the flavors are complimentary to each other go for it and top your pavlova.
I like to marinade my strawberries as I said earlier, if you like your booze marinade your fruits too. A 25 ml measure will do it, based on the recipe above.
Simply slice your fruit or if small leave whole. Put in a bowl, pour over the booze and sprinkle with a little caster sugar. Leave for at least half an hour so the fruit absorbs the alcohol. Top your dessert with the boozy fruit and spoon over a little of the fruity alcohol too.
It's best to use flavored liquors like Cointreau, Kirsch, Drambuie or any fruit flavored liquor will work.
Fruit flavored spirits like apricot or cherry brandy are also good.
If you're going to use bananas and booze, mix the booze into the cream and slice the bananas onto your pavlova just before you serve.
Bananas can turn brown quickly and that's not an attractive topping.
Pavlova is such a simple dessert and if you don't go too crazy on the cream and booze you'll have a dessert that won't ruin your waste line.
Now, what can you do with the leftover egg yolks? Curdle free custard of course!
The Real Pavlova
It's believed 'The Pavlova' as in the original dessert pavlova was created to honor the famous Russian Ballet dancer 'Anna Pavlova' during her tour of Australia and New Zealand in the 1920's. Today, the pavlova dessert is still a national cuisine of both countries. Like the delicious dish, Anna herself was dainty and fragile, born in Jan 1881 and died of pleurisy in Holland in 1931, 3 weeks before her 50th birthday. It is said on her deathbed Anna, the Dainty Ballerina, clutched her dress from her most famous ballet 'The Dying Swan' in her frail small hands and said her last words: Play the last measure very softly. And she died...
The famous dancer could have had an operation to save her from the pearly white gates, but, she was also told she would never ever dance again. To these words she promptly replied: If I cannot dace I'd rather be dead. Her life was dancing, and she toured for years to the delight of many audiences around the world. The delicate dancer knew she wanted to dance from an early age. Dance was the true love of her life. And to live without her true love of dancing: life for the famous ballerina was not worth living. Perhaps to be without your true love really is not a life at all.
A quote from Anna Pavlova:
'No one can arrive from being talented alone, work transforms talent into genius'.
I have decided to embrace these powerful words and strive to do them justice.
© 2010 Gabriel Wilson
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