Who knew that making pavlovas is an art. It took me two failed attempts before I finally understood the concept behind this interesting dessert. What makes a perfect pavlova is crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. It should also instantly melt in your mouth. I am never a fan of pavlovas but I’ve got to admit that it tastes pretty darn good!
I’ll be sharing a couple of tips to make the perfect pavlova. It is important getting the recipe right – as you know, I do not follow recipes. I have this habit of reducing sugar and butter and substituting things that quite often, it turned out to be something different. I’ve managed to reduce 50g of sugar from the original recipe. Anything more than that, you’ll lose the nice crispy glaze of the pavlova. So here are some handy tips:
- Make sure that there are no egg yolks present in the egg whites – this will prevent the egg whites from foaming
- Whisk the egg whites first until foamy then add in the sugar portion by portion until soft peaks are formed. After that, add in the vinegar, corn flour and vanilla essence. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks are formed – that’s when the meringue is ready
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees and then turn it down to 100 degrees before placing the meringue in
- If the pavlova turns brown – the oven is too hot. It should be yellowish white with slight cracks on the surface but still soft to touch. Leave it to cool in the oven with the door ajar
Ingredients (makes 8 mini pavlovas)
- 4 egg whites
- 180g caster sugar
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 300ml thickened cream
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 4 passion fruits
- 1 punnet blueberries
Preparation time: 10min
Baking time: 1 hour or when the pavlova is crisp to touch
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees
- Draw 8 circles of approximately 10cm / 4 inch circles (using a pint glass as a guide, if this helps) on each of the parchment-lined sheets.
- With a hand held mixer, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Gently add in the sugar and salt, spoonful after spoonful, still beating
- Add in the cornflour, a few drops of vanilla and the vinegar on top and whisk to combine until stiff peaks are formed and you’ve got a bowl full of gleaming, satiny, snowy meringue
- Spoon the meringue onto the baking parchment into the delineated circles, and spread and smooth to fill.
- Using a small spoon, make an indent in the centre of each meringue
- Reduce the oven temperature to 100°C and bake for 60 minutes or until crisp to the touch
- Turn the oven off and leave them in for another 30 minutes with the door ajar, then take out of the oven to cool
- To make the cream, place the thickened cream, caster sugar and vanilla essence into a mixing bowl
- Using a hand whisk, whisk the mixture in high speed until stiff peaks are formed
- When you want to assemble them, dollop cream into the indentation, and smooth it with the back of a spoon, leaving the odd peak.
- Cut the passion fruit and spoon the pulp over the cream. Then place, one by one, a few blueberries so that they look well filled but not crammed
*Best to assemble the pavlova just before serving because the cream would cause the meringue to get soggy