Author Jean Morrison
Famous Australian Pavlova
This is one of Australia's all time favourite desserts and it is so simple to make. You can cook the actual Pavlova a week or so before-hand and then decorate it just before you are ready to serve. The pavlova in the photograph is decorated with banana, blueberries and passion fruit. By the way a Pavlova is really just a giant meringue.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Quantity: Serves 10
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6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 and 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
250 ml whipping cream
2 teaspoons caster sugar, extra
Fruit to decorate
Pre heat oven to 120 degrees Celsius.
Take a large piece of baking paper. On the paper draw a circle with a 22 cm (9") diameter. Please note the pavlova will expand to a diameter of 25 - 26 cm so make sure the baking paper and tray are large enough. Turn the paper upside down on a baking tray and spray with oil.
Beat the egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form. Start adding the sugar, one tablespoon at a time whilst beating the mixture at about 3/4 speed. Continue beating until the sugar is fully dissolved. You should not be able to feel any gritty ness in your fingers when it is fully dissolved.
Add the cornflour, lemon juice and vanilla and whisk slowly until just combined.
Pile the mixture onto the baking tray, keeping the mixture within the circle. Smooth the top but leave a slight hollow in the central area. To give a fancy edge hold a flat bladed knife in a vertical position and gently "drag" up the sides of the pavlova to form a decorative edge.
Bake at 120 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit) for approximately 1 and 1/2 hours. When cooked, the pavlova should be a very light beige colour. Turn off the oven. Leave pavlova to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar.
Whip the cream and extra caster sugar until thick. When the pavlova is cold, top with the whipped cream and decorate with fruit. Fruit suggestions are below.
Pavlovas frequently crack and sometimes sink slightly. On occasions the edge will pull away from the central area slightly. This is normal. When they are decorated the slight imperfections are generally not noticeable.
Colourful fruits are good to decorate pavlovas, ideas being sliced banana, strawberries, kiwi fruit, dark purple berries and passion fruit. Passion fruit is particularly nice, in my opinion,because its tartness complements the sweet pavlova so well.
If you are making the pavlova shell in advance then store it in a cool dry place, not in the fridge.
Lemons originated in China. The Chinese emperors used to like lemonade. 1 medium lemon has 18 calories. Lemons contain phosphorous, potassium, calcium, beta carotene and fibre. The pectin in lemons has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. With a spoonful of honey added a hot lemon drink is soothing to those who have colds and sore throats.
Eggs are one of the most versatile forms of nourishment available. Nutritionists recommend we eat a maximum of four eggs per week, although a study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that there is no significant link between eating eggs and developing cardiovascular disease in healthy individuals. However, the important Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study have found that people with existing heart and diabetes problems should probably not eat more than 3 eggs per week. Most eggs sold today are infertile because there are no roosters housed with the laying hens. There are no nutritional differences between fertile and infertile eggs. Eggs contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a complete protein food. An egg shell has as many as seventeen thousand pores. Apparently hens turn over their eggs as many as fifty times daily; the purpose of this being that the yolk then doesn't adhere to the inside of the shell. A fresh egg will sink in water, but a stale one will float.
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