I first had it in Australia where they consider it to be their National dessert.
I believe New Zealand also lays claim to Pavlova so
you could say it is a "Down Under" favourite.
It was first made to tempt the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova - hence its name.
Pavlova is best made the night before you plan to serve it so that
it has all night to cool in the oven
- 3 egg whites at room temperature (I use large eggs)
- 1/3 cup sugar (1st amount)
- 2/3 cup sugar (2nd amount)
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- 250 litre carton whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp. icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- fruit of your choice. Fresh berries are great, as are fresh or canned peaches, nectarines, pineapple, kiwi or a combination.
- Beat egg whites until stiff peaks begin to form.
- Add 1st amount of sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, beating very well between additions. I was told to check that the sugar had dissolved before adding the next amount. You can check by tasting a bit of the meringue to see if there are any grains of still sugar intact. This can take a long time so I don't always beat it that long.
- Beat in vanilla and vinegar.
- Mix cornstarch with the 2nd amount of sugar and continue to add sugar in small amounts beating well in between each addition until meringue is very thick and most of the sugar is dissolved.
- Cut a round of parchment paper to fit a pizza pan. You can sprinkle the pan with a bit of water before putting the parchment down so it sticks to the pan. Alternately you can use foil which is lightly buttered.
- Pile the meringue on to the parchment in a circle about the size of a dinner plate. Using a spatula or spoon, push the meringue to the outside edges and indent the centre so it is lower than the sides.
- Place in centre of a 300º F oven and bake for 1 hour.
- After one hour, turn oven off. DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR until it is completely cold. (I usually bake my pavlova just before going to bed and leave it in the cold oven overnight.)
- Whip cream with icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
- Pile the whipped cream into the centre indentation of your pavlova. (You can do this a couple of hours ahead or right before serving.
- Top with cut up fruit or arrange fruit slices in a circular design. Do not put the fruit on until just before serving or the meringue will soften.
- Cut into wedges to serve.