Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday pavlova

I have been making pavlova since I was about 12.  My mother was a good pavlova cook and her sister still is today. Whenever I am asked to make a sweet I often make a pavlova as I can almost make it with my eyes shut. I don't have to consult a recipe and they always seems to work out.

Up until recently I followed my mother's recipe which was essentially egg whites, caster sugar and a few drops of vanilla.  Yesterday I made Stephanie Alexander's recipe which is pretty much the same  as Mum's but includes two teaspoons of corn flour and a couple of drops of white wine vinegar.  It tastes pretty much the same but the addition of the small amount of corn flour possibly makes the meringue slightly more crispy.

For a long time we Australians claimed the pavlova as one of our national dishes but in recent years it was discovered that the pav was first made in New Zealand.  It's a great gluten-free desert.

Yesterday when my brother's family came over for Easter Sunday late lunch/early dinner I made a pav. When it came time to decorate the big meringue I had two excellent helpers in my nieces Eimear and Orla. After spreading the cream across the top (leaving a small section cream-less as Eimear does not like cream) we added sliced strawberries. The girls decided a bit of broken up Easter egg (Cadbury's gluten-free) would be a nice addition, with little Easter eggs around the edge for decoration. Normally I would also add some passionfruit but I forgot to buy some. Sliced banana also goes well, as does kiwi fruit. Just like Stephanie Alexander I always turn the crisp baked shell upside down. As Stephanie says, "this way the marshmallow middle melds with the cream and the sides and base stay crisp." Here is Stephanie's recipe:

Stephanie Alexander's pavlova

Ingredients: 4 egg whites at room temperature (add more egg white if you need to make a larger pav). pinch of salt, 250g caster sugar (add a tablespoon more for each extra egg white), 2 teaspoons cornflour, 1 teaspoon white white vinegar, a few drops of pure vanilla, 300 ml cream, firmly whipped pulp of 10 passionfruit.

Method: Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20 cm circle on the paper. Beat egg whites and salt until satiny peaks form. Beat in sugar, a third at a time, until meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and fold in lightly. Mound onto paper-lined baking tray within circle, flattening top and smoothing sides. Place in oven, immediately reduce heat to 150C and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce further to 120C and cook for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and leave pavlova in it to cool completely. Invert pavlova onto a platter, pile on cream and spoon over passionfruit pulp.


  1. This is the first time I have seen it written / acknowledged that the pav was made first in New Zealand :-)
    Your pav looks beautiful. From a Kiwi.

  2. Thanks Kiwi - I made another one today with banana and passionfruit on top. The pav is probably a bit like us claiming a few famous musicians as Australians when they are really from NZ!