Ok so I'm not going to get into who the whole Australian/New Zealand Pavlova debate. My father is an Australian, My mother is a New Zealander, two of my brothers were born in New Zealand, I have lived in both Australia and New Zealand and grew up eating pavlova. I feel like I am linked significantly enough to both countries. Hence I feel no need to weigh in on or even discuss where this delicious dessert originated. Bottom line- there is nothing like a good pav.
Like I said, I grew up on these things. My mother was known for her amazing pavlova’s and boy did she know how to make them. They were always perfect. This past Monday I received a request from my dad to make a pavolva for him to take to his school (he is a vice principal at a high school) for the kids to try. I had wanted to try my hand at making a pav for a while but just hadn't done it yet. So when my dad asked me to make one I was nervous. What if it didn't work out? I had never made one in Utah and where I am from in Australia we don't have to contend with altitude issues and it is much much more humid than Utah. I thought both of these factors would definitely come into play. I employed the help of my mother in law who has made a few pav’s in her time (in Utah). She got her recipe from a lady in Australia while she was on a trip there a few years back. This lady had also lived in Utah at some point in time and perfected this recipe while she lived here in Utah.
I didn't have much notice to make this pav so it wasn't perfect, at least it didn't look perfect. My dad however assured me that it tasted awesome, had all the right textures of a regular pav and the kids all flipped out over it. You will notice in my pictures that my pav has a golden color to it. I'm not sure why that is. My mothers pavlova’s were always pearly white but my mother in law said that he pav’s have always been this color. Another thing that wasn't quite right about this pav was that it was a little more crumbly around the edges. My mother’s pav’s always looked like a soft billowy cloud with smooth edges. I think the reason my edges were more crackly was because my eggs were still too cold (they HAVE TO be room temperature!). Anyway, other than some time constraints and my eggs being a little too cold I can now say I have made my first Utah pav. More than ever I am excited now to mess with this recipe in order to try and perfect it. I may just try again this weekend. I'm on a mission.
You will notice my pav is covered with strawberries and kiwi fruit. This is how we ate them growing up. A pav just wouldn't be a pav to me if it wasn't covered in fresh whipped cream (none of that fake crap) and covered with strawberries and kiwi fruit!
Australian/New Zealand Pavlova or "Pav"
5 egg whites (must must must be at room temperature. Ideally get them out in the morning and make the pavlova later on that day)
pinch of salt
1 cup of white castor sugar (to make castor sugar put sugar in a blender and blend until fine)- see note below
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Beat egg whites and pinch of salt until stiff. You want to beat them until they look like they couldn't get any stiffer and then beat them some more after that. This is key!
Once the eggs whites are stiff stiff stiff, slowly begin to add the sugar.
Once all the sugar is added, fold in cornstarch, vanilla and vinegar.
Place on a baking sheet covered in foil and place in the oven. My mother in law has found that she has had better success if she places the pavlova mixture in a tall pile as opposed to spreading it out. It will naturally spread out as it bakes and cools in the oven.
Bake the pavlova at 300 degrees for 25 minutes, then turn the oven down to 275 degrees (leave pav in the oven during this process). Bake at 275 for 50-60 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the pavlova cool in the oven. Both my mother and mother in law leave it in the oven over night to cool.