Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Did you guys have a great holiday period? I hope you had lots of fun and food, and for those in the Southern Hemisphere also good, warm weather! I can almost guarantee that most of you will have had a better Christmas than I did… A couple of days before Christmas I got tonsillitis and on Christmas morning instead of sleeping I was hugging the toilet… Not exactly a fairy-tale Christmas! I did get to hang out with family a bit but unfortunately the extent of my Christmas feasting was toast and mashed potatoes, yum yum! Tell me in the comments what you had on your table, I hope it was better than that!
The humble pavlova is a staple on our Christmas dessert table, whether bought or homemade we have one every year. This year’s one was actually bought because I was going to make one but was too sick! Fortunately New Year’s was a lot better and was just a quiet celebration with friends. How did you guys bring in the New Year?
This recipe has been given to me by a friend and she showed me how to make a proper, traditional pavlova that actually rises properly (previously mine have always been crunchy discs of meringue…) and this is the recipe I’m bringing you all today. As long as you follow the instructions exactly, you can also replicate the perfect pavlova. This recipe is awesome because it produces a pavlova that is crunchy meringue on the outside and holds its shape, with a pillowy and soft inside. It’s quite versatile too, you can either make a single small-ish pavlova or double the recipe to make a large pavlova, or, like we did, you can make a two-tiered pavlova topped with cream and strawberries. Yum!
It’s a relatively simple dessert, it just takes time and patience, so make sure you’re not trying to make this as you’re rushing out the door! I asked my friend where she got the recipe from, and she said she wasn’t sure as it came from her mother’s scrapbook but she did say it’s a family favourite and she gets requests from all over to make a pavlova for any special event!
Pavlovas are very popular in summer here in New Zealand because you can have them with cream and fresh berries, but there’s no reason that you couldn’t enjoy it even in the middle of winter! Let me know what you think of the recipe in the comments below and happy baking!
- 4 egg whites
- 1¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tspn white vinegar
- 1 tspn vanilla essence
- 1 Tbspn cornflour (cornstarch)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
- If needed, you can draw 1-2 circles (depending on how you want to assemble the pavlova, for one like the pictures have one circle bigger than the other) to guide where the pavlova should be spread onto the baking sheet.
- Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer (or a large bowl with an electric hand beater and big arm muscles!) until stiff peaks form.
- Gradually add the sugar and beat for 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form again*. You should be able to tip the bowl over your head and the egg whites stay in the bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, vanilla essence and cornflour.
- Beat the mixture into the egg whites and sugar and continue beating for a further 4 minutes until the meringue is thick and glossy.
- Spread the meringue onto the baking sheet in 1-2 circles (making sure they don't touch) and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
- Turn the oven down to 100°C (212°F).
- Bake the pavlova(s) for 1 hour.
- Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova in the oven for at least another hour to cool, up to overnight.
- To get a pavlova like mine from the pictures, whip 300mL (10oz) of heavy cream with 1 Tbspn of icing (powdered) sugar until soft peaks form.
- Hull and halve a 250g (9oz) punnet of strawberries.
- Place the first and bigger pavlova circle onto a serving plate or platter.
- Spread ⅔ of the cream on the first pavlova.
- Place the second round of pavlova on top of this and spread the top with the remaining cream.
- Push the strawberry halves into the cream in a circular pattern on the top of the pavlova and into the cream around the sides in between the top and bottom layers.
- To finish, grate chocolate over the top.