Photo by Kristina McCurdy
Anyone who knows me or has ever entered the Hart household knows that every morning I can be found wandering the house with a cup of tea listening to the news; until the news gets boring and I switch to cooking shows. My husband finds this routine particularly annoying as I habitually leave a trail of half drunk tea cups whilst complaining about how television chefs make recipes look way too easy. Nothing puts me in a tizzy more than an incomplete or incorrect recipe. I have spent countless hours following recipes step by step only to end up with the less than desirable. The only silver linings in sight are that I have the opportunity to create the perfect recipe and that for once something wasn’t my fault.
This scenario held true for many many many years regarding my recreation of the pavlova. For years I had watched a television chef whip up this dessert with ease. Naturally, my next step was to run down to my chicken coop to collect eggs and return to my trust mixer in hopes of making my very own pavlova. I had no such luck making this fluffy dessert takes; as, it takes way more skill and care than American television chefs will have you know. The recipe I will now present to you is the most perfect combination of European and American recipes that I have been working on and finally perfected after four years.
• 6 Extra-Large egg whites, at room temperature.
• Pinch of salt
• 1 Cup of superfine sugar
• 2 Teaspoon cornstarch
• 1 Teaspoon white vinegar
• teaspoon vanilla extract
• Whipped cream
Photo by Kristina McCurdy
1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper; NOT wax paper (I did that once.)
2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I keep seeing American recipes that have this wrong.
3. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
4. Beat in the sugar one spoonful at a time. Be sure you are using superfine sugar; otherwise, your sugar will not melt and your cake will be grainy.
5. Add salt and vanilla extract.
6. Beat the mixture until shiny peaks form.
7. Add vinegar and beat until the mixture is shiny, white, and stiff. This can take up to five minutes. It should look like marshmallow when it is done.
8. At this point you can fold in anything: cocoa, shredded coconut, almond, or melted jam. Just be sure to fold; or, your egg whites will deflate.
9. Scoop out your mixture into a ring mold or free style a circular shape and put it in the oven.
10. Bake for 60-90 minutes.
11. The cake is finished when the sides look crisp and the top looks dry. Do not open the oven door as fast cooling will deflate your meringue. Let the oven cool with the meringue inside. When you are ready to serve peel the parchment paper off the cake and cover your cake with your favorite whipped topping. Depending on the season sometimes I add lemon or lime zest into my whipped cream.
Finish with your favorite fruit. Most people use berries or figs. Enjoy!
If you are not going to eat your pavlova right away store it in a box in a dry place. If you store your cake in the fridge the egg whites will sweat and ruin the meringue.