Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Perfect Pavlova

I'm not really into blogs with recipes so just skip this post if you feel the same. I have a pavlova baking in the oven right now and the thought of happy people (including me) filling their faces with it tomorrow fills me with sugary joy. People think I am some super Nigella-type homemaker because I can bake pavlova but (please don't tell anyone and ruin the magic) it's really easy to make. I have used several pavlova recipes over the years but I've simplified it to this one that always pleases and is even gluten-free.

4 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar (white sugar that's finer than normal table sugar. If you don't have any, just whiz table sugar in the blender or food processor for a few seconds)

Preheat the oven to "very slow" (120C or 250F). Draw an 18cm circle on some baking paper that you've put on a tray (use a small plate or large bowl to draw the circle). Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (about 1 minute). Add caster sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue beating. (This should take several minutes and the mixture should be all glossy and thick.) Spoon the mixture onto the circle on the baking paper. You can make a concave area in the middle if you want. Bake in the very slow oven for 60 to 90 minutes until the outside is very lightly browned. Turn off the oven, leave door ajar and cool pavlova in oven. Don't worry if the centre collapses because that's where you put the cream and piles of fruit. Serve it up and watch it be devoured within minutes.

If it breaks/collapses, no worries. Just break it up, mix it with cream and berries, and you have a variation on Eton mess. Some recipes call for vinegar, cornflour or vanilla, or they tell you to dust the baking paper with flour but I can't be arsed and the pavlova still tastes perfect and looks pretty. My favourite fruits for the top are berries, kiwi and banana, or passionfruit pulp or mango or those tinned mandarin segments. Or nothing, still tastes good!

No pictures because it's in the oven, obviously.

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