Sunday, March 11, 2012

On Cloud Nine

I have rediscovered the beauty - and simplicity - of the humble pavlova.

My friend Alice whipped one up the other weekend for our lunch at the beach and I cringed when I thought of how much could go wrong with a delicate shell, cloud like meringue and sickly sweet toppings.

What a fool was I!

It was such a success that I suggested we whip one up spur of the moment at my brother's house the other night. They take no time at all to prepare, it's just the baking that you need to allow time for.

So  while the roast lamb was simmering away in the weber, we got stuck into our eggs.

Couldn't be simpler. 

We went for a Donna Hay recipe. And it was so easy.

The shell was perfectly crisp and the inside so marshmallowy fab. I give up on hoping for a non-cracked pav, I figure it adds character - how they do it on telly, I'll never know.

Anyway, we added cream and strawbs and indulged in the perfect summer dessert.

I still can't get over how easy it was - and the best bit? All the ingredients are in your pantry!

Here's the recipe for anyone who's looking for an easy dessert using pantry staples.

  • Donna Hay's Pavlova
  • 150ml eggwhite (approximately 4 eggs)
  • 1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch), sifted
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
  • ½ cup passionfruit pulp (approximately 4 passionfruit)
  • 250g strawberries, hulled and halved
Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F). Place the eggwhite in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form.
Gradually add the sugar, whisking well, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.
Add the cornflour and vinegar and whisk until just combined. Shape the mixture into an 18cm round on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Reduce oven to 120°C (250°F) and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Spread over the pavlova, top with passionfruit and strawberries and serve immediately. Serves 8–10.
* You’ll know when the meringue is stiff and glossy because the mixture will have tripled in volume and stands up when the beaters are lifted.
* The low heat puffs up the meringue while the long cooking time dries it out to give you a lovely crisp shell.
* Store your pavlova, undressed, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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