RECIPE| Mini Pavlova
Last Sunday was Australia Day; the official national day of Australia. Kind of like the USA’s fourth of July, it is a day of patriotism and basically a solid excuse to do something “Aussie”. Most people play cricket, go to the beach, or have a BBQ. The national youth radio station Triple J has a yearly countdown called the Hottest 100. I along with most of the country spent my day listening to countdown as I always do. Originally that was the entirety of my ‘celebrations’ but around mid afternoon I was suddenly inspired to try my hand at Pavlova.
For those of you unfamiliar with the dish, Pavlova consists of a base of baked meringue (crispy on the outside and soft on the inside) topped with outrageous amounts of cream and fruit and berries. Despite being originally created in New Zealand, Pavolva has become one of those quintessentially Australian desserts. It is also renowned for being difficult to master due to the delicate nature of the meringue, but I figured ‘how hard can it be?’
I forwent the standard huge size of Pavlova in favour of a mini version for individual servings. There seemed to be a lot of variety in recipes on-line, so I ended up cobbling together a simple method from a few different sources. The end result was better than I could have imagined! The meringue is so light and crispy on the outside and soft and sweet inside. It compliments the berries and cream perfectly! I couldn’t be prouder! If I can nail it on my first attempt, anyone can!
What You Need:
200g of caster sugar
4 eggs (whites only)
A pinch of salt
400ml of thickened cream
Extra 30g of caster sugar
1 - cups of berries and/or mixed fruit
Here’s What You Do:
1. Start by preheating your oven to 120 degrees Celsius. Line a tray with baking paper and set aside.
2. Add 4 egg whites (at room temperature) and a pinch of salt together in a bowl and beat until the mixture starts to thicken into stiff peaks. Gradually add in the caster sugar and continue to beat until a the mixture is thick and shiny.
3. Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and beat again to combine.
4. Spoon your mixture out onto the prepared tray into 6 - 8 small, round domes (around 7-8 cm in diameter) Using the back of a spoon , gently press an indent into the centre.
5. Move to the oven to bake for 15 minutes, then, reduce the temperature to 110 degrees and cook for a further 45 minutes.
6. Turn off the oven and allow meringues to cool in the oven with the door open for around 40 minutes to an hour. This should stop the meringues from cracking, but if the tops cave in a little or crack slightly don’t worry! You just want the main body of the meringue to retain its shape.
7. In a bowl, mix 1 cup of berries with a good squeeze of lemon juice and set aside in the fridge. I used a mixture of fresh and frozen berries.
8. Place 400ml of thickened cream in a mixing bowl (chill the bowl if you have time) and whip at high speed, gradually adding 30 grams of caster sugar as you go. Like the meringue, the cream should thicken and form stiff peaks as you mix. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to serve.
9. Once the meringues have cooled completely, place one on a plate and layer with a generous serve of whipped cream, and a gently placed pile of berries on top. Serve immediately!