Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pavlova for Australia Day

Inspired by Rob Kabboord's foolproof pavlova recipe, I made a pav to celebrate Australia Day. I haven't made one for years because of the cream, so I thought a passionfruit custard sounded like a good substitute until I noted it consists of sugar, egg yolks and butter, so I'm not sure which is the lesser evil. I went with tradition, as passionfruit custard sounded too sophisticated to me, like activated almonds.

Kabboord's instructions are rather specific, such as having the beater make three rotations after adding the vinegar, and folding the sifted corn flour six times - the reason behind this is not explained so I don't know whether it makes a big difference (I think I folded the mixture seven times - I'm such a rebel!). I was over zealous with beating the egg whites, and my mixture was well beyond ribbon stage. My pavlova had a thin crisp crust that did not crumble when I loaded the cream and fruit on top, had a satisfying amount of meringnue and was delicious as we all had two slices each. I topped the pavlova with half a carton of whipped cream, two kiwi fruits, a punnet of strawberries and tinned passion fruit because the "fresh" ones I could find resembled prunes.

A summary of the recipe:

4 egg whites (best at room temperature but ours were refrigerated)
250g castor sugar (Kabboord suggested sifted pure icing sugar)
1/2 teaspoon of vinegar
1 tablespoon sifted corn flour

1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Place baking paper on a tray.

2. Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Kabboord said to add the sugar all at once, but I prefer to add one tablespoon at a time (...I like to take my time, what's the rush?).

3. Add the vinegar. Fold in sifted corn flour.

4. Spoon the mixture onto the tray.

5. Turn the oven temperature down to 120*C, and place the tray into the middle rack and don't use the fan. Cook for 80-90 minutes. I left my pavlova in the oven to cool with the door ajar.

6. Top the pavlova with whipped cream and fruit, and eat at least two slices!

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