Log Cabin Chronicles

Good Eating from Down Under

dessert

Pavlova

JOY PARTRIDGE

With its crisp meringue outside and delicate marshmallow-like softness inside (it's filled with cream and topped with fruit) Australia's most famous contribution to the culinary world was named for the great ballerina, Anna Pavlova, and is truly the queen of desserts.

Pavlova can be baked and served in a fluted china flan dish, moulded in a spring-form tin, or shaped into a free-form dome. Strawberries and passionfruit are two classic toppings, but any fresh, frozen or canned fruits can be used, or the Pavlova can be topped with lemon cheese or apricot sauce.

BASIC PAVLOVA

6 egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
2 cups caster sugar
1-1/2 tsps vinegar
1-1/2 tsps vanilla
whipped cream for filling
fruit or other topping of your choice.

If you have a gas oven, preheat it to very hot (230 deg C/450 deg F) before starting to mix pavlova. If you have an electric oven, reheat it to slow (150 deg C/300 deg F).

Beat egg whites with salt at high speed until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tab. at a time, beating well after each addition. Stop beating when all sugar has been incorporated and fold in vinegar and vanilla.

Pile mixture into a greased 20 cm (8") china flan dish and lightly smooth top. OR pile mixture into a greased 20cm (8") springform tin, and lightly smooth top. OR cover a baking tray with greased foil, mark a 20cm circle on it and pile mixture onto the circle; mould up sides with a spatula and make a slight depression on top.

If using a gas oven, turn heat to lowest temperature, put pavlova in and bake 1-1/2 hours or until crisp on top and a pale straw colour.

If using an electric oven, put pavlova in and bake 45 minutes, then turn oven off and leave with door shut for 1 hour.

When pavlova is cooked, remove from oven and cool completely. Remove sides of springform tin, if using. Fill pavlova generously with whipped cream, then with your choice of topping. Serves 6-8.

The meringue may be sprinkled with blanched, slivered almonds before baking. They will toast to a golden brown.


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