Traditional Kiwi pavlova
11th September 2009

Traditional Kiwi pavlova

By Susie Photography by Adam
 

Pavlova is the ultimate Kiwi classic. It is synonymous with the Saturday barbie, covered in kiwifruit and usually over-whipped cream, plonked surreptitiously on the bench until mass amounts of beer and sausage have been consumed and the greedy hoards come looking to satisfy their sweet tooth.

There is great debate over whether or not the pav originated in little ol’ NZ or over the ditch in Oz. One theory I heard from a chef in Milford was that they found some very old recipe books that debunked any possibilities of our Australian counterparts having any contribution to its conception. He particularly liked to regale punters with this story on overnight cruises before he served up healthy servings of the dessert.

Because we are in the middle of winter I chose to garnish my pav with frozen berries, but if you are in the height of summer go for fresh ones, as frozen ones can be a little tough and a little less flavoursome. I rolled mine in sugar to add to their appeal and then slathered the whole thing in cream. Can I get a yum?

Ingredients

serves 4
  • --
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  • --
  • 1. Preheat your oven to 150°C on bake, if you would like to use a fan function for that extra crispy coating use a lower temperature like 125ۦC*.
  • 2. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  • 3. Beat the egg whites on a high setting until stiff peaks form. To make you sure your egg whites whisk up nicely ensure there is no egg yolk in them and that all the utensils and bowl have been rinsed in scalding hot water to remove any grease.
  • 4. Add sugar gradually whilst still beating on a high setting, usually a tablespoon at a time is the norm or if you have steady hands pour in a slow steady stream, making sure at each addition it is beaten thoroughly.
  • 5. Once all the sugar is added beat for a further 10 minutes. This is important as it helps the mix to stiffen a little more, which will mean it will keep its shape when it’s baked.
  • 6. Mix together the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla essence, decrease the mixer setting to med-low and add in the cornflour mix. Once just mixed in, turn off mixer.
  • 7. Cut a ~40cm length of baking paper and fold along its length. Curl on tray to make a cuff with a diameter of ~17cm, either tape or pin it to keep its shape.
  • 8. Spoon meringue mix into cuff and smooth out surface. Place into the middle of the oven, if on bake turn the oven down to 125°C and bake for one hour. After an hour turn the oven off and let the pav cool in the oven. For fan functions do everything the same just turn the oven a little lower, maybe 115°C.
  • 9. Hull and wash some berries, whip some cream and serve! You can also opt for the sliced kiwifruit.
  • Tips and tricks
  • * Using a fan function forces convection currents and dries out humidity that the more gentle bake function has, which is why you’re likely to get more of a crust on the pavlova using a fan function. Because of the forced convection, fan functions transfer heat and energy quicker than bake, thus the golden rule of baking is to decrease the baking temperature by roughly 20°C when using them.
       

      COMMENTS

      1. Such an intriguingly beautiful dessert!

      2. That looks like the perfect pairing for berries, fresh or frozen. Definitely yummy!

      3. What a grand looking pavlova! Looks really great!

      4. regardless of its true origins, pavlova makes me wish that i was born and raised in the southern hemisphere so i could lay claim to it. this one’s breathtakingly gorgeous–bravo!

      5. Mmmmmmmmm, pav. First attempt at making a pav and what a treat. Perfect combination of crust and fluffy centre.

      6. BBQ Bro

        First attempt looked amazing, but the crust seperated from the centre by about 1 to 2cm at the top. Is there anything I could do to stop this happening next time? Still tasted amazing though!

      7. Lauren

        Hi BBQ Bro!
        I’m so pleased it tasted amazing :) Without seeing your pav it’s hard to know exactly what caused the cracking, but it could be a couple of things: Maybe cooled too quickly? Or maybe it was a little undercooked? It can weep if it’s undercooked.

      8. Nadia

        Hi nice pavlovas u got there! Did my first pavlova yesterday and im using a fan oven and my pavlova turned out soft outside but not sticky. Perhaps u can give me some tips? I also noticed a little liquidy syrup at the bottom. The temp. used was 125C for one hour or so. Thanks!

      9. margaret

        Fab pav tried a few, this is the best by far .

      10. yas

        To address some of the issues of the above posts, I would like to share my experience in hopes that it will help others.

        I live in Calgary AB Canada, the altitude here is 1045 metres above sea level. This is important because any recipe for meringues and marsh mellows is greatly affected by sea level and barometric pressure. Pavlova’s are extremely difficult to master in this environment and I have tried dozens of recipes with varying results, and here is what I’ve learnt.

        There is no perfect pad recipe because each recipe should be adjusted to reflect metres above sea level, humidity and ambient temperatures.

        The large gap between the meringue crust and the marshmallow can be a result of high altitude and there isn’t a real fix for that to be honest.

        Always make sure that your egg whites are at room temperature, as is your mixing bowl and beater.

        The syrupy runoff that can occur is caused by improperly dissolved sugar in your pan mixture. Either use castor sugar to start, or blend regular sugar in blender to get a finer grain. After adding all of your sugar, take a pinch of the mix between your thumb and middle finger and rub together, if you feel any grains, your sugar is not well enough incorporated. The mixture should be silky smooth.

        Never open the oven door until the pan is completely cool. No larger bangs or door slams etc while it is cooking or the marshmallow will fall, just like a soufflé.

        My high altitude tips are to use vinegar, cornstarch and cream of tartar to make sure you actually get two inches of marshmallow and a meringue crust. And usually it takes a little more sugar to maintain the structure.

        Hope those tips help. I have spent years researching and experimenting with pavs. As the daughter of a kiwi it is a birthright, as the granddaughter/niece of kiwi expats in Australia, it is a lifelong topic of debate, competition and collaboration. ;) Cheers!

       

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