What makes a perfect Pavlova? As far as I’m concerned, a perfect Pavlova is one where the meringue is of a good height. There must be an outer crunchy meringue crust and the inside must be soft, light and fluffy. While you can put whatever fruit you like on top of your Pavlova, it was traditional in our house to have strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, raspberries and passionfruit is obligatory.
While Australia and New Zealand both argue as to who this dessert belongs to, and although I’d like to claim it as ours, it is well documented that the Pavlova indeed originates from New Zealand and was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. The ‘Pavlova’ is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920’s.
P A V L O V A 6 egg whites pinch of salt 315g caster sugar 2teaspoons cornflour 1teaspoons white vinegar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 300ml fresh cream 4 kiwi, peeled and thinly sliced strawberries, blueberries, blackberries peach slices 2 – 3 passionfruit
Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a baking tray with some non-stick baking paper. Draw a 20cm circle on the paper, place on the tray, circle side down. Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Once all the sugar has been added, continue to whisk on high for 3 minutes. Add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract to meringue and whisk until just combined. Use a spatula to spread the meringue over the circle, smoothing the surface and sides. Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes – the pavlova should be dry to the touch. Turn off the oven and leave to cool completely, with the oven door slightly ajar. Whip cream until thick. Spoon onto pavlova and decorate with fresh fruit of your choice.
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