If you’ve made a ‘pav’ before you’ll know they take a lot of beating and if you’ve yet to master them just remember this ‘we beat the pav, they don’t beat us! So many people are terrified of making one and I was too, not only did they beat me up, they stomped all over me and left me for dead, making me doubt every bit of baking skill I possess!
Last year I decided no more and that I was going to show my pavlovas who’s the boss in my kitchen (it’s me btw) so when my Aunty Karen visited I asked her a ton of annoying questions and made a heap of pavs until I understood them more. I’m a slow learner and the only way I’ve ever become good at anything is to do it a lot and make a pile of mistakes and as long as I eventually learn from those mistakes and learn not to repeat them, I learn a new skill, so thank you to all the pavlovas that weren’t perfect!!
6 medium-sized eggs (I use size 6’s)
1 ½ cups castor sugar
1 ½ teaspoons malt vinegar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ½ teaspoons cornflour
To Decorate :
300 mls full cream (1 ¼ cups)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons icing sugar
your favourite fresh or tinned fruit
icing sugar (confectioners sugar) to dust
Optional – ¼ cup passionfruit syrup
- Cut a piece of non-stick baking paper to line a baking tray and then, using a pencil, pressing down firmly, trace around the base or ring of a 23 cm / 9 in, cake tin.
- Using your fingers flick some cold water all over the tray and then place the paper back on, pencil side down (you should be able to see the outline of the circle through the paper). Set aside.
- Turn the oven on early, to 120°C fan bake oven or 140°C conventional oven, on bake, with a rack situated just below the centre of the oven.
- Get the vinegar, the vanilla and the cornflour out ready, as well as the measuring spoons and a ¼ measuring cup.
- Separate the eggs and place the whites into a very clean and dry, large ceramic, metal or glass bowl.
- Using electric beaters or a stand mixer, on a medium speed, whip the whites until they are stiff peaked (the ends will stay standing when you lift the beaters out), around 1 ½ minutes.
- Once stiff, add ¼ cup of cold water and continue beating for a further 20 seconds or until you think it’s ‘just’ mixed in.
- Still on the same speed, start to add the sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating for 1 minute between additions (a total of 6 minutes). Once done, it should be stiff peaked, thick and glossy.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vinegar, the vanilla, sprinkle over the cornflour and continue beating for a further 30 seconds or until you think it’s ‘just’ mixed in.
- Retrieve the baking tray you prepared and again using your fingers flick some cold water all over it or if you prefer you can give it a light spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Use a spatula or a large spoon to very carefully and gently (remember you don’t want to knock any air out of it) spoon the meringue onto the baking sheet inside the circle (just blob it in there, no need to make it pretty just yet).
- You can actually just leave it as is if you like or you can use a metal spatula and gently run it around the sides, so they are slightly sloping in at the top and then gently smooth/swirl the top over (it’s best to keep it around 5 to 7 ½ cm / 2 or 3 in high).
- Place it in the oven and bake it for 1 ¼ hours and then turn the oven off and leave it in there until the oven is thoroughly cold (I leave the door shut). *No opening the door during the baking or cooling period.
- Once thoroughly cooled in the oven if you are finishing it later on it can just stay on the tray, wrapped in cling wrap and be stored in a cool, dry place until it’s ready to be decorated.
- Use a skinny, sharp knife or metal spatula to carefully run around inbetween the paper and the pavlova to loosen it and then use two big spatulas to carefully lift the pav to a large, flat, serving plate.
- Place the cream, the vanilla and the icing sugar in a bowl and using the electric beaters again whip it all together until stiff peaks form (mine took 3 ½ minutes).
- Spoon the cream gently (careful, the weight of the cream can cause the pav to sink) on top before spreading it. *If you like you can use a little cream to fill in any cracks around the sides of the pavlova.
- Then decorate it with your chosen fruit any way you please and if you like just before serving dust the fruit with icing sugar. *You may like to drizzle passionfruit syrup either over the top of the fruit or over each individual piece just before serving.
- Once your pavlova is decorated with cream and/or fruit, it needs to again, be well wrapped in cling wrap and then will keep well in the fridge up to 3 days.