Baking Adventures (Part 3): Pavlova

Created and named in honour of a famous Russian ballerina, the pavlova is a dessert that’s magnificent to behold, yet elegant in its rustic simplicity. Think of the pavlova as an oversized, light-as-air meringue, but with a dreamy, pillowy marshmallow interior.

This is a real showstopper of a dessert that’s really easy to make. I would, however, recommend reading my Basics post on whipping egg whites before attempting the recipe, just so you know exactly what you’re in for when dealing with egg whites.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 egg whites
  • A pinch of salt
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

To serve:

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • Your favourite fruits

Serves 6-8

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). On a piece of baking paper, draw an 8-inch circle. No need to get out your compasses, just trace the outline of a cake tin.

This circle will help you later to shape the pavlova. Turn the paper over so that you’re not eating lead, and place it on a baking tray.

Step 2: Beat the egg whites with the salt until foamy. While your mixer is still running, add in half of the sugar a tablespoon at a time.

Step 3: When about three-quarters of the sugar has been mixed in, add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract. Mix in the remaining sugar by the tablespoon until the mixture is stiff and shiny.

When you lift up your whisk attachment, the meringue should be able to hold its shape. And when you pinch the mixture, you shouldn’t feel any sugar granules.

Step 4: Pour the batter onto the baking tray in the middle of the drawn circle. Using a spatula or a large metal spoon, smooth the sides of the pavlova, using the circle you drew earlier as a guide. For the top, you can just smooth it out. Otherwise, touch the flat of your spatula/spoon on the pavlova and pull away quickly to create spikes. The spikes will make your pavlova a little more crunchy when cooked.

Step 5: Put the pavlova in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C (300°F). Bake for 75 minutes.

Step 6: When the time is up, turn off the oven and open the oven door a crack. Leave the pavlova in the oven to cool for at least an hour. Yes, it will collapse and crack, but that’s the beauty of it. Besides, you’re going to cover most of the top with whipped cream anyway!

Step 7: Drag the pavlova on its baking paper onto your serving platter to minimise damage. Or you could just serve it right on the baking tray! Whip the cream until thick and pile onto the pavlova. Top with your favourite fruits and serve proudly.

Baking Adventures is a collaboration between Basic Bakes and QuirkyChic. QuirkyChic is a Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle blog by Caroline & Ruth. To find out more about them, click here. Expect a new Baking Adventure every second Friday of the month!



2 thoughts on “Baking Adventures (Part 3): Pavlova”

  • Hi Siti, the vinegar is needed in the pavlova to keep the inside a soft marshmallow-y texture as the outside crisps up. Any acid will do as long as you’re wary of taste and colour. To that end, most other vinegars can be used in place of white wine vinegar e.g., rice wine vinegar, malt vingear, even red wine vinegar (although malt and red vine vinegars may taint the whiteness of the pavlova slightly). The same amount of lemon juice should work as well, though expect a tiny bit of lemony flavour in your pavlova, which isn’t altogether a bad thing. Let me know how your pavlova turns out!

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