The first time I ever saw pavlova was on Masterchef Australia. It was Nigella week and I was so intrigued by it because I had never seen it or even eaten it before. I spent the next couple of years watching people make it on tv and I knew that I wanted to make it but there wasn't really a right moment. Fast forward this week, I made brioche and I made an egg wash with just the yolks so I had enough egg whites. I didn't want the egg whites to sit in the freezer like I always did. So I thought, there are egg whites and it's evening too and pavlova’s are perfect to be made in the evenings because then you're not using the oven and it can sit in there until it cools completely. I don't know exactly what a pavlova should taste like but this was really crisp on the outside and so gooey on the inside. I hope you have fun making this as much as I did. Also please don't open the oven when baking this, any abrupt change in temperature would cause the pavlova to crack. If you can, make it in the evening so it cools overnight in the oven otherwise allow it cool completely; about 4 to 5 hrs before opening the oven.
Recipe Yields a 6 inch Pavlova
what you need
104g egg whites (3 medium sized eggs)
200g caster sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon corn flour/starch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream
100g white chocolate
For the filling
100g strawberries (fresh or frozen), sliced*
1/4 cup pulp of passion fruit (optional).
Fresh mint for garnish
It is quite difficult to get fresh strawberries here so you can use frozen strawberries. Just thaw it in the fridge overnight for slicing. If you try to that the strawberries at room temperature, they will turn to mush.
Preheat oven to 120C and line a baking tray with baking paper. To be extra sure that the pavlova won't stick, brush the baking paper with a bit of flavorless vegetable oil.
Clean you mixer and whisk to be absolutely sure there’s no leftover fat residue else the egg whites wont whip.
Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip at medium speed until frothy.
Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until all the sugar is finished. Increase the speed and whip until you reach stiff peaks. The meringue should look so shiny and glossy. Stir the corn flour and vanilla into the meringue.
Spoon the meringue unto the baking paper and create a 6 inch circle. Using a spoon or a knife, shape outside the circle by lifting the meringue upwards. Flatten the top and create a not too deep well/nest (the white chocolate whipped cream and strawberries will sit in this nest).
Bake for 1hr 30mins and leave in oven for at least 4 hrs or overnight to cool completely. Do not open the oven whilst the pavlova is baking else it will crack.
To make the white chocolate whipped cream, melt the white chocolate with half of the whipped cream in a sauce pan over very low heat or in the microwave, it should take less than a minute. Do not let the cream boil. Refrigerate the rest of the cream until ready to use. Set the chocolate and cream mixture aside to come to room temperature (you can refrigerate so it cools faster). Add the rest of the cold heavy cream to the mixture and whip until soft peak forms.
If you’re using frozen strawberries, thaw them in the fridge so they don't become mushy, overnight preferably. Slice or leave them whole . Place in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. If you’re using fresh, just cut them into halves and set aside until you’re ready to serve
To assemble pavlova, scoop the whipped cream into the nest/well you created. Then gently add the strawberries (be very gentle else it will break). Top it with the passion fruit pulp and garnish with fresh mint.