Thursday, September 29, 2011

Aussie Pavlova

What was my husband's one request for his birthday? A pavlova. Many Americans have no idea what this is, but it is a staple in Australia. And his aunt is a pav master, hers are legendary within family and friend circles. She's been making them for 40 years and I HAVE THE RECIPE! I'm so happy to be able to pass this one along to my girls.

The last time we visited his homeland, Aunt Helen gave me a one-on-one demonstration of how to make her delicious pavlova - which has a thick, crispy but airy meringue base, homemade whipped cream and strawberries on top.

Luke loved the pav. It was so yummy, and brought back all kinds of good memories of home for him.

  • Aunt Helen swears by baking this pav next to an open window. After reading reviews of other pavlova recipes, I've learned that humidity can make or break a pav. So if it's a beautiful day, open up that window!
  • Leave pavlova in the cooling oven when it's done baking. If you take it out when the timer goes off, your pav will crack!
Aunt Helen's Pavlova
8 egg whites - egg whites should be room temperature
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch (Big!) salt

  1. Grease your largest baking tray with butter and sprinkle an equal mixture of cornflour and powdered sugar over greased surface. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In standing mixer, beat egg whites and pinch of salt with whisk attachment. Allow to whip right up to fluffy peaks and gradually add while whipping, the sugar bit by bit. You'll notice the mixture go glossy.
  3. Once all the sugar dissolves, turn off the mixer. Then, with a rubber spatula, gently fold in vanilla, vinegar and cornflour, stirring for 30 seconds only.
  4. Load this meringue mixture on to tray with slightly built up walled sides (a well in the center). The meringue will rise!
  5. Place in oven for 1 1/2 hours on 300 degrees, then turn oven off and leave pavlova in oven for 1 hour. Halfway through that cooling hour, barely crack oven open. After at least 1 hour cooling in the oven, take out and allow to cool right down.
  6. Spoon a generous portion of whipped cream over pavlova and top with sliced strawberries. We love homemade whipped cream: Put whisk and bowl in freezer for 5 minutes. Whisk in standing mixer 2 cups heavy cream, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla. Other toppings for the pav include: kiwi, passionfruit, or Australian-style peppermint crisp (delicious!!). Serves 24 people.

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