FITTING CHOICE: Fruit toppings and a glass of wine enhance the sweet.
5 medium egg whites
200g caster sugar, about 1 one
1 tspwhite vinegar
strawberries, raspberries, kiwiorpassionfruit– any great classic pavlova toppings.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees (140 degrees fan forced).
Trace a 20cm circle on a piece of baking paper (I just use a bowl or a cake tin to trace) and then place on a baking tray. This will be your guide when shaping your pavlova base.
Put some white vinegar on paper towel and wipe down the inside of the mixing bowl and electric mixer whisk you’ll use. I love using my Kitchen Aid for pavlovas, but any electric mixer will work.
Separate out the egg whites. Make sure not even a speck of egg yolk makes it into your egg whitesas this will stop them from fluffing up.
Add your egg whites to the bowl and whisk on high for 3 to5 minutesor until the whites form soft peaks. To test, stop the whisking and when you pull the whisk out of the whites, it should create peaks that stand up on their own.
Start the mixer again and slowly add the caster sugar a tablespoon every 30 seconds or so – it should be a slow and considered process over about 5 minutes. You’ll know when it’s ready for the next step by doing this simple test: stop the mixer and rub a bit of mixture between your thumb and forefinger. If you can still feel the sugar granules, then it isn’t ready. Keep mixing until you can no longer feel the sugar in the mixture. This will take some time,sometimes up to 10 to 15 minutes, so be patient.
Once all the sugar is dissolved, add the cornstarch and vinegar. Mix in the mixer for 5 seconds so it’s loosely mixed through.
Gently scoop the mixture out onto your lined baking tray. Carefullyshape into a circle within the traced guide, trying not to knock too much air out of the mix. Shape with an indentation in the middle to help with holding the whipped cream and to reduce the likelihood of cracking. If you like something a bit more decorative, I use the back of a spoon and run it from bottom to top in stripes all around the outer edge of the pavlova.
Once shaped to your liking, place in the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 120 degrees (110 fan forced). Bake for 1 hour. Make sure you never open the door to check on the pavlova while it’s cooking,this will cause it to collapse.
Whenthe hour is up, turn the oven off and leave the door closed – do not open! Let the pavlova base cool in the oven.
Once completely cool (about 1 hour), decorate with whipped cream and your favourite fruit toppings.
Trial and error brings dessert to remember
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