food

Forget what you know. THIS is how you make the perfect Pavlova.

Everyone loves this crunchy, marshmallowy, light and fluffy Aussie dessert.

And if you’ve never made one before; make this your year.

They’re not hard, but to make an absolutely perfect pavlova, the tricks often lie in the letter ‘P’ – Preparation and Patience (and then Pass The Plate So I Can Put The Pav in My Piehole, Pronto).

WORTH KNOWING BEFORE YOU START:

FAT RUINS PAVLOVA

Any trace of fat in your egg whites will mean they can’t reach the voluptuous heights you need them to.

This means:

  • Don’t use a plastic bowl to whip your egg whites. Plastic bowls can trap fat from other dishes. Try glass or metal.
  • Wipe over all your equipment (bowls, beaters) with a splash of lemon juice, or white vinegar on a paper towel before you start.
  • When you separate your eggs, do them one at a time in a small ramekin, before you add them to the larger mix. This means any errant egg yolk that makes its way into the egg white will only contaminate one egg and not the whole batch.
    Trust me on this.

HAVE YOUR EGGS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE.

Using eggs straight from the fridge? Nope. Bring them to room temperature first, or speed up the process by submerging the eggs in some warm water until they are brought to room temp. Room temp eggs hold more volume so you can whip it.....into shape....shape it up....etc.

IT TAKES AN ENTIRE AGE TO WHIP THE EGG WHITES WITH SUGAR

When you start to add the sugar to the egg whites, do it gradually. However long you think this part will take, double it. This is an exercise in patience.  Or, in setting up the iPad so you can watch Game Of Thrones during this bit.

Start by whisking the egg whites on their own, until they form soft peaks (when the whisk is lifted and the mix forms a peak that flops over on itself) before you start adding the sugar.

When you start to add the sugar, do it slowly, a spoonful at a time, until all ALL the sugar is dissolved. I leave about 45 seconds between additions.  All up, this process can take, around 7 -10 minutes, and that's with a KitchenAid. If you're using a hand beater, it may take longer. And then, once all the sugar is in, whip it good for another 3-4 minutes on high. It should look something like this:

Whip it.
ADVERTISEMENT
Whip it good.

Now you know what to do: get baking!

INGREDIENTS

4 egg whites

220 g caster sugar

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons cornflour

1 teaspoon white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

300 ml thickened cream

Shit tons of fruit of your desire (kiwi fruit, strawbs, blueberries, mango, etc)

Flaked almonds (give them a light toasting in a pan, or briefly on an oven tray)

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 110%. Yep, low 'n slow. Put the oven rack in the lower third of the oven, too.

ADVERTISEMENT

Draw a circle on a piece of baking paper, using a 20cm cake tin as a guide.  Then place the baking paper, marked side DOWN, on a baking tray. (Trust me on this. I've served pav with blue pencil baked onto it in the past).

Put your egg whites in a large mixing bowl (see above prep) and use an electric mixer on medium speed, to whisk until foamy. At THIS stage, add the salt, vinegar, and cornflour and whisk again until soft peaks form (will take about a minute or so)

With the motor going, add the sugar a spoonful at a time (see above). When the mixture is thick and glossy, add the vanilla, and whisk to combine.

While you're waiting, follow Monz on facebook here.

Pinch off a piece of the mix, and rub it between your fingers to check in the sugar is dissolved. If the mixture feels grainy, keep whisking my friend.

Spoon the meringue onto a tray, and using a spatula, and the circle you drew as a guide, shape it into a disc with a well in the centre (all that cream and fruit needs to go somewhere). Have a good time shaping the sides - creating swirls with a flourish or smoothing it over.

Bake for 1 and a quarter hours, until the meringue is crisp and hard to touch. Then, turn off the oven and leave the door slightly ajar (I jam a wooden spoon in the door so it doesn't shut completely)  so it cools slowly in the oven (this takes about 2 hours).

Once completely cooled, whip the cream, (add a teaspoon of vanilla essence if you want, it can't hurt) and then top with lashings of fruit, and the toasted, flaked almonds.

GORGEOUS.

Pavlova with raspberries, blueberries and peach slices.

Listen to Monz on the Mamamia Out Loud podcast, weekly on Wednesdays. The latest episode is here:

You can buy books mentioned on our podcasts, from ibooks at apple.co/mamamia, where you can also subscribe to all our other shows in one place.

00:00 / ???