Every household, okay most households, in New Zealand and Australia have a favored Pavlova recipe. A meringue dessert originally created in honor of Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova for her tour to New Zealand and Australia in the 1920’s, it has become a staple ever since for most family celebrations and holidays. The providence of the recipe still remains a hot debate between the two countries with proof piling up on both sides of the Tasman.
So what is so great about a Pav? Pavlova fits into the meringue category of desserts. It has a crisp meringue-like outside with a soft, fluffy marshmallow center. Traditionally topped with fresh whipped cream and your favorite fresh fruit – it’s a perfect mix of sweetness without being too filling.
- 6 egg whites at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 1-1/2 cups super fine sugar
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Place egg whites and salt in a clean bowl and beat with an electric beater or an electric mixer until stiff.
- Once stiff, start adding the sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time, making sure the sugar fully dissolves before adding another spoonful - this will take about 7 to 10 minutes. Once all the sugar is added, beat the whites for a further 10 minutes until they are a thick and glossy consistency.
- Add the corn starch and the vinegar, beat until combined.
- With a large rubber spatula, spoon the egg white mixture into a circular disk shape about the size of a small dinner plate on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
- Place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees F, then reduce the temperature down to 260 degrees F and cook for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova in the oven to cool completely.
- Once cooled, carefully transfer the pavlova to a large serving plate. Carefully slather the top of the pavlova with freshly whipped cream and top with your favorite fresh fruit such as strawberries or raspberries.
- You can tell when egg whites are stiff - when you remove the beater, the whites will keep their peaks rather than falling back in, and they will almost look dry in appearance.
- Do not open the oven at all during the cooking and cooling process otherwise you'll have a very flat pavlova.
- After cooking and cooling, pavlovas often develop cracks and flatten. If this happens, don't worry, after adding the cream and fruit no one will notice and it will still taste great.
- Undecorated pavlovas can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days or they can be frozen in an airtight container for up to a month.