I've inherited this recipe from my mother, and I've pretty much grown up on it. It differs from the usual recipes for Pavlova in that the actual method is different. All ingredients are put in together at the very beginning, and there is no folding of ingredients involved. I've theorized that perhaps the mixture still doubles in size due to the boiling water preventing the normal decline of moisture that is associated with whipping egg whites.
It's important to note that the preparation is a staple in this dessert! Check the Notes/Tips section for help.
This dessert is extremely light, sweet, and almost mousse like in texture. Each slice may be served with whipped cream and a choice of strawberries, raspberries, kiwi or passionfruit. Crushed peppermint crisp is also highly recommended as a garnish.... Read more.
Preheat oven at 120C (105-110C Fan Forced oven) or Gas 1.
Separate egg whites. If cold, let bowl rest in bath of hot water, stirring very gradually until slightly warm. No water should enter egg whites. Be careful!
Meanwhile, measure and sift sugar, and set aside. Wash all bowls and mixers, leaving them to rest in hot water.
Once egg whites are room temperature, dry the whisk and bowl throughly and transfer egg whites into bowl. Add vinegar, cornflour, vanilla essence and boiling water. Give a small stir, add sugar and start beating immediately. If hand whisking, whisk thoroughly for up to 15 minutes. If using a regular hand mixer, whisk on the highest setting for up to 10 minutes. If using a stand mixer, mix for up to 7 minutes on the high to highest setting. Keep mixing continuously with no stop/starts! Regardless of mixing strategy, the end result should always be smooth, glossy, large in volume, and give stiff peaks.
Working quickly, transfer mixture onto either a baking tray or a oven-proof plate covered with baking paper, scraping along all of the sides. Keep mixture compact and in the center, focusing mainly on height. For a conventional or gas oven, bake for 30-35 minutes. For a fan forced oven, bake for 45-50 minutes. Turn off oven and leave Pavlova inside to cool for up to 2 hours to prevent sinking.
PAVLOVA 101: The golden rule is to be patient! The end product is worth the hard work. In terms of preheating, I suggest using a separate thermometer inside the oven to make sure your settings are parallel to the actual temperature being heated. Oven thermometers can be purchased from your local supermarket or cooking store. Moreover, when cooling the Pavlova after the initial cooking, try to resist opening the oven at all during this process as it may cause sinking. If your Pavlova does sink, whipped cream can always come to the rescue! As for preparation, I highly recommend the 3 bowl method for separating egg whites to make absolutely sure that you don't have any egg yolk entering your egg whites. If you don't know of this method already, definitely give it a google. On that note, clean your glass or metal bowl (steel is best) immediately before use with very hot water in order to keep the bowl warm. Make sure to dry thoroughly until there is no residue left on the surface. Also, keep the whisk clean! The best kind are the whisks with many separated wires. If your hand beater does not have a whisk attachment, do not fret! Beaters will definitely still work, albeit may lengthen the process of whipping. Bon appétit!
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