How to Make Perfect Pavlova (That Doesn't Stick to the Paper!)
Pavlova, the Dessert of Sweet Origin
It is believed the original pavlova dessert was created to honor Anna Pavlova, a famous Russian ballerina who toured in Australia and New Zealand during the 1920's. Below, you will find the following:
- A foolproof recipe for a delicious pavlova
- Tips to keep your mix from sticking to the paper
- Fun toppings you can use to jazz up your pavlova dessert
Pavlova is a national dish in both Australia and New Zealand, and I hope it will become a favorite in your home as well!
- 4 large fresh eggs, whites only
- 200 g very fine caster sugar, sieved
- A pinch salt
- A drizzle vegetable oil
- 200 ml heavy cream
- Any fruits for topping
- Preheat your oven to 130°C or 260°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Drizzle a little vegetable oil over the parchment paper and rub it in with your fingertips. Cover the whole sheet, as this will prevent your pavlova from sticking.
- In a clean bowl, whisk your egg whites until they form firm peaks. Make sure absolutely no egg yolk or shell gets into your bowl. Once you finish whisking, the mix shouldn't move even if you tilt the container.
- Gradually add the sugar and salt into the egg whites. Continue to whisk till you have lovely, glossy peaks. The whites should stick to the whisk.
- Tip the mixture onto the baking tray in one large piece if you want to serve it to a group or in smaller pieces to create individual portions.
- Place the pavlova on the middle rack of your oven for an hour, or until the outside is crisp and the inside is chewy and gooey. Don't be tempted to press the mixture to see if it's ready or it'll crack.
- Let the pavlova cool in the oven, leaving the door ajar before handling it. I like to use an old wine cork as a wedge to keep the door open a bit. This will help prevent your pavlova from cracking.
- Whip up some cream, about 200 ml, with half a teaspoon of caster sugar. Cover the middle of the pavlova with your whipped cream and decorate the top with fruit. I like marinating strawberries in a splash of Grand Marnier for about an hour before I top my pavlova. It tastes divine!
Delicious Ways to Eat Pavlova
You can dress up pavlova in many different ways. Here a few scrumptious ideas for you to try.
- Top your pavlova with popular fruits like kiwis, fresh peaches, plums, pineapple chunks, passion fruit, blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.
- Grate a little good-quality chocolate (dark or white) over a fruit-covered pavlova.
- Bake thinner and flatter pavlovas. Layer them with cream and fruit to make an impressive tower of gorgeous dessert, and then dust the top with powdered sugar to tickle your taste buds.
- Make Eton mess, a traditional English dessert. Break up the meringue into a large bowl and mix it with whipped cream and fruit. Serve it in individual glass dishes. This eye-catching dessert tastes fabulous. I wonder if the Eton mess originated from a ruined pavlova. It was a most fortunate mistake!
- Marinate strawberries in 25ml of alcohol. Pour the booze over the fruit and sprinkle with a little caster sugar. Leave for at least 30 minutes and top your dessert with this mixture! If you try this, use flavored liquors like Cointreau, Kirsch, Drambuie, or anything fruit-flavored like apricot or cherry brandy.
- Bananas and alcohol also work together. If you want to try this, follow the steps above, but mix the alcohol into the cream and slice the bananas just before serving. Bananas brown quickly, and you don't want that staring at your guests.
If you don't fancy fruit for a topping, here are a few delicious substitutes!
- Crushed pistachios
- Toasted almonds
- Finely-crushed Brazil nuts
- Mini-chocolate chips
- Crumbled Cadbury flakes
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Edible flowers
- Sugar decorations
- Caramel or chocolate sauce
- Fruit and nut/sauce combinations: almonds and strawberries, Brazil nuts and peaches, pistachios and chocolate sauce, banana slices with a decadent caramel drizzle
The bottom line is that there's no rule to what toppings you can or can't use. Experiment with flavors and have fun with it!
My Favourite: Strawberries and Cream
About Anna Pavlova
Anna Pavlova was born in 1881 and died of pleurisy in 1931, just three weeks before her fiftieth birthday. It is said that on her deathbed, Anna clutched the dress she wore in her most famous ballet 'The Dying Swan' in her frail hands and said, "Play the last measure very softly."
The famous dancer could have had an operation to heal her condition, but she was told she could never dance again if she had it. She promptly replied, "If I cannot dance, I'd rather be dead." She lived to dance and did so for years, to the delight of many audiences around the world.
Pavlova or Pav-No-Va?
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© 2010 Gabriel Wilson