My mind is a weird and annoying place because I like to know why – you know that annoying kid that’s always asking why something happens? That’s me in adult form. So every time I’m baking something I like to know what is happening and why I’m doing something because I like to understand.
Welcome to my mind guys. I usually bake something 5 or 6 times to answer the ‘why’ to all my questions. I’ll be tweaking and trying new recipes like with the classic pavlova – I’ve baked it at different temperatures and methods just to see if I can improve it.
This pavlova recipe will have a crunchy tanned crust with a marshmallow soft center. The temperature change going from 150°C to 100°C in the recipe below gives the pavlova a crisp shell which I love.
I serve this topped with Chantilly cream which is just a fancy name for whipped cream and vanilla. I love the vanilla in it as it cuts out that fatty taste you get from cream and adds a subtle sweet flavour. I don’t use any other fruits besides strawberries as I find this to start getting confusing in terms of flavour when you add too much fruit. However, you can add any fruit combination you want because that’s just me!
Adapted from a book called I Love Sugar by Love Food.
4 egg whites (room temperature)
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
300ml thickened whipping cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g strawberries or any fruit you love
- Preheat oven to 150°C (fan-forced)
- Draw a 20cm circle on baking paper (I use a cake tin to trace around). Place this on top of a baking tray with the pencil/pen side facing down.
- Beat eggwhites until soft peaks form in an electric mixer. Ensure bowl and beaters are clean with no fat or oils on them as this will stop the eggwhites from beating up. Also make sure that there are no trace of egg yolks in the eggwhites.
- Gradually add caster sugar and beat well until dissolved. This takes around 5 to 10 minutes where it should not feel grainy when you rub it between your fingers (undissolved sugar causes weeping). The finished meringue will be thick and shiny – if you tip the bowl upside down, the meringue won’t fall.
- Fold in cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract.
- Place the meringue on the 20cm circle. Smooth the top and make stripe patterns on the side. Putting stripe patterns on the side helps prevent the side from cracking.
- Reduce the heat to 100°C (fan-forced) and bake for 1.5 hours. If you want to check if your pavlova is done, it should be hard and sound hollow if you gently tap it.
- Leave pavlova in the oven to cool down completely.
- When ready to serve, make the whipped cream by whipping together the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in an electric mixer until it is thick and floppy.
- Pile this on top of the pavlova and top with strawberries/choice of fruits.
- Meringue is good for 4 days when stored in an airtight container.