I woke up one Saturday morning not too long ago to find four fresh Pavlovas in the kitchen. My scientist husband decided he was going to perfect his favorite dessert
recipe. After all, the Pavlova is a tradition in his country of New Zealand
and he takes great pride in making a good one.
Here is the basic recipe and directions:
- Four egg whites at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Beat egg whites with salt and vinegar until shiny with soft peaks. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time beating until stiff. Add vanilla and cornstarch. Beat to mix. Bake at 250F for 2 1/2 hours. Turn oven off and leave meringue in until cool.
Now take your meringue and spread it on a piece of parchment paper. You can make it any shape you like. We usually make them round to fit a dinner plate but occasionally make it larger and sometimes we make sweet little individual servings.
And yet another one: Chocolate flavored whipped cream, raspberries
and shaved chocolate.
This dessert is guaranteed to please!
Here are some additional notes from The Professor, my scientist husband:
The egg whites beat better (lower viscosity) if they are warm, and they must be free of any trace of yolk or other fatty contaminants that will reduce foaming of the egg proteins. Adding vinegar and salt at the beginning improves and stabilizes the foam. Once the whites are well foamed, addition of sugar slowly retains the air in the foam but adds the necessary sweetness. Once the meringue mixture is stiff, the vanilla for flavoring and cornflour (for stability) are folded then beaten in. The meringue is placed on parchment cooking paper in an 8" circle (draw it on the back of the paper with a sharpie using a dinner plate as template), and the meringue is fashioned so that there is a wide rim surrounding a central bowl. The cooking should be low (250 F) and long (2 hours), and the oven should remain closed until completely cool. Abrupt reduction of temperature may result in collapse of the soft center, giving you a sticky/chewy center. Still edible, but not as easy to cut or eat. We like to put the whipped cream (whip 1 cup cream with 1 tsp sugar and a few drops of vanilla) and fruit on the Pavlova several hours before eating - some of the liquid from the cream moistens and softens the center of the pavlova. You can decorate the Pavlova many ways... New Zealand tradition includes pulp of the purple passion fruit. Kiwifruit and strawberries are our mainstay (passion fruit being a rare and expensive luxury in California). The chocolate/raspberry decoration was made with cocoa, sugar, and Kahlua in the whipped cream, and shaved chocolate and raspberries on top.
Enjoy! We'd love to hear if you try this and liked it.