Pavlova with fresh cream, drizzling of dark chocolate and topping of luscious raspberries
I will take a diplomatic stance and not dwelve into which country, Australia or New Zealand has rightful ownership to the invention of the Pavlova, a relative of the Meringue; its distinguishing feature being the addition of cornstarch and vinegar. Despite the country of origin being shrouded in mystery and constant debate, the Pavlova was invented in honour of the Russian ballerina Ánna Pávlova, who graced the shores of Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s and whose light as a feather frame and dancing inspired such a delicate dessert. Nationality aside, the pavlova is an institution in both countries and there is a lot to love about this dessert. With its snowy-white crisp shell enveloping a soft-as-a-pillow marshmallow centre, this sugary delight is best complemented with fresh fruits and berries; preferably those with a tart flavour so fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, passionfruit pulp, kiwis etc. marry extremely well with this meringue-based dessert. Heightening the melt-in-the-mouth experience even more is the addition of softly-whipped cream.
Oooh how I weep at the memory of savouring my first home-made pavlova by an ex-colleague who made two pavlovas with different toppings of banana, passionfruit and strawberries. I have since attempted the pavlova thrice; the first was a spectacular failure and I can’t remember what happened but it was definitely a recipe for toothache! The second attempt – I plucked the recipe online, was possibly too impatient and cranked up the temperature so the crust was discoloured; far from looking angelic at all! And now for my most successful attempt to date, thanks to the recipe in the Australian Women Weekly’s “COOK” book (you will know by now how much I love this book) I give you the Pavlova! I piled mine up high with fresh berries from my raspberry picking trip and a heavenly drizzle of melted dark chocolate. I am most definitely a certified Pav-lover
love the sexy colours..hehe..see that crack? sweet music to my ears! <tap tap tap..crack and then soft inside>
(adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly COOK: How To Cook Absolutely Everything)
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes (Plus cooling time)
4 egg whites
220 g caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon white vinegar
300 ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon icing sugar
any fruit of your choice – berries, mangoes, passionfruit, bananas, kiwis etc.
50 g good quality dark chocolate
250 g fresh raspberries
icing sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to very slow (120oC/100oC fan-forced). Line oven tray with baking paper; mark 18 cm circle on baking paper.
Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form; gradually add caster sugar, beating until sugar dissolves between additions (until stiff peaks) Fold in cornflour and vinegar.
Spread meringue inside circle on tray. For best results, do not squash or flatten mixture but shape side up and in towards the centre, like a mound. Make furrows up side of meringue using spatula, level top. Bake, uncovered, about 1 1/4 hours or until dry. Turn oven off; leave meringue to cool in oven with door ajar.
An hour before serving, beat cream, extract and sifted icing sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. (I like to chill the cream for about an hour before serving)
If using chocolate, bring a small amount of water in a pot to the boil; turn off stove then sit the bowl of chocolate on top (without base touching water) so the gentle steam/heat melts the chocolate.
Gently transfer or slide the cooled pavlova onto a platter (I almost demolished mine with my man-handling) Fill the top of the pavlova with the whipped cream; then pile on the raspberries; lastly give it a light dusting of icing sugar. Alternatively, decorate with any fruit of your choice.
a delicious mess