Saturday, 22 December 2012
Every family event for as long as I can remember has had one constant: Mum's pavlova. Normally decorated with cream and strawberries, it's the highlight of every barbecue.
On one occasion (probably just before Mum's optical prescription was due for renewal), the sugar was accidentally replaced with salt. Were it not for a sneaky taste of the mixture before it went into the oven, our lunch would have been ruined. Fortunately pavlovas are incredibly simple to make - provided your oven is low, and your eggs separated cleanly, there's not much that can go wrong. Apart from salty overload, that is.
My favourite topping is a mix of berries, but I have been known to use peppermint crisp (when I'm feeling exceptionally kitsch), mangoes or bananas. Whichever topping you choose, make sure you assemble at the last moment to "save the sog".
The recipe below makes enough meringue for two pavlovas to stack or one large one.
7 egg whites
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 Tablespoon of cornflour
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of vinegar
3 punnets of strawberries, halved
1 punnet of raspberries
1 punnet of blueberries
Preheat oven to 140 degrees celsius.
Whisk the egg whites on high for three minutes or until stiff. Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Beat for another five minutes. Remove from mixer and fold in cornflour, vanilla and vinegar.
On two lined sheets swirl meringue in an oval shape, one larger than the other. Bake for two hours or until shell is crisp. Leave in oven until cool.
Whip cream until soft peaks form. Spread over meringues and add berries. Place smaller pavlova on top of larger and serve.