The Perfect Pavlova
WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh
PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson
Pavlovas are the quintessential Aussie sweet. A little tricky at first, but once you get the hang of this egg white beauty, you’ll be churning them out at every chance you get.
There is a little controversy regarding the origin of this special dessert - is it truly Australian or was it first made in New Zealand. Both parties agree that it is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, the NZ version featuring layers of jelly and the Australian version a light meringue. Either way, it is the perfect dessert for your Australia Day celebrations, gorgeous and sweet, light and airy and so easy to pull together.
- 6 (59g) eggs, separated
- 1 1/4 cups (270g) caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 300ml thickened cream
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar mixture, sifted
- Finely shredded rind and juice of 2 limes
- 2 Lady finger bananas, thinly sliced diagonally
- 3 golden kiwifruit, peeled, thinly sliced
- 2 starfruit, thinly sliced
- Pulp of 2-3 passionfruit
- Preheat oven to 120°C. Line an oven tray with foil. Brush with melted butter and dust with cornflour, shaking off excess. Mark a 24cm-diameter circle on foil.
- Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, until meringue is thick and glossy and sugar dissolved. Rub a little meringue between fingers. If still "gritty" with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar dissolves. Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and whisk until just combined. Spoon meringue onto the foil, using the marked circle as a guide. Smooth sides and top of pavlova. Use a small spatula to forms little peaks around edge of pavlova. Bake in oven for 11/2 hours or until pavlova is dry to the touch. Turn off oven. Leave pavlova in oven with the door ajar to cool completely. When completely cold, transfer to serving plate or store in an airtight container until required.
- Use an electric mixer to whisk the cream and icing sugar in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. Spoon cream onto the top of pavlova. Pour lime juice into a ceramic or glass bowl. Add banana slices and toss to coat with juice. Drain. Decorate pavlova with banana, kiwifruit, starfruit, passionfruit and lime rind.
Consider these alternate toppings::
- Mango and Passionfruit
- Watermelon, blackberries and blueberries, edible flowers
- Pineapple and toasted coconut flakes
- Caramelised banana and praline
- White chocolate and fresh peach with toasted macadamia nuts
- Milk chocolate : plum and almond shavings
- Dark chocolate, raspberries and hazelnuts
- Violet crumble crushed
- Peppermint crisp and fresh mint