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Perfect Pavlova

With a crispy meringue shell surrounding a sweet marshmallow center, a rich cream filling and a mountain of fresh seasonal fruit, Pavlovas are graceful, yet utterly intoxicating. Fitting, if you consider the fact that the eponymous dessert was named after the famed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova during a visit to Australia or New Zealand. I say "or" because nothing drives a wedge between between Aussies and their mild-mannered cousins to the east than talk about who invented the dessert(well perhaps nothing but a match between the Wallabies and the All Blacks)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Australian, Best
Level Advanced, Intermediate
Main Ingredient Egg, Fruit
Diet Gluten-Free, Pescatarian, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 5 people

Ingredients

  • 105 grams egg whites (aged)
  • 120 grams superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 C) on convection mode. If your oven can't do convection it's fine, but you'll want to increase the heat by about 20 degrees F and you may need to bake the pavlovas longer. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the egg whites to a very clean glass bowl (or in the bowl of your electric mixer) and beat until it's foamy and soft peaks start to form.
  3. Whisk together the sugar and potato starch in a small bowl. Add the sugar mixture in 4 additions to the egg whites, beating the mixture in between each addition. If you have an electric mixer, you can just let the mixer run while you slowly pour the sugar in.
  4. Once the meringue is glossy and holds firm peaks (you should be able to hold the bowl upside-down without the egg whites falling), add the vanilla and vinegar and beat until well incorporated.
  5. If you're making a big pavlova, just scrape all the meringue into the center of the parchment paper lined baking sheet. If you're making mini pavlovas, divide the meringue into 5 small mounds, each about the same height. Give each pavlova a twirl with a spatula from the outside towards the center to give them a nice shape and put the pan in the oven.
  6. The pavlovas are done when the outside is crisp (about 45-60 minutes in a convection oven). Tapping on them should result in a hollow sound and the meringue shell should be at least 5mm thick, while the inside is still soft. Allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. To construct the pavlova, use a spoon to knock down the middle of the meringue making a well in each pavlova. Fill the shell with cream, then top with seasonal fruit of your choice. I used cherries, peaches, kiwifruit and passionfruit for mine, but strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are also delicious.