I don’t know if you this about me, but… I LOVE PAVLOVA.
There, I said it. In capitals for the world to hear.
I think it’s my favourite pudding (and I’m a big pudding fan, so that’s high praise…)
I’m making mini-pavs tonight for a girls’ dinner at mine, so thought I’d blog the recipe as I go along.
It’s a great option for dinner parties as you can make it in advance and simply top with whipped cream and berries before serving. It’s very quick and easy to whip it out, fuss-free and with a flourish, after main course is done.
I have tried many a pavlova recipe in my time. My favourite has to be Nigella’s. She uses a lot of egg whites (eight!!) so it’s not for the faint-hearted, but for some reason using this quantity always gives you a perfectly light, fluffy and ever-so-slightly marshmallow like pavlova. I’m not sure on the science behind it, but using 8 egg whites and 500g caster sugar has become a superstition for me (even though, technically, 6 egg whites and 375g sugar should do the same thing).
(Warning: I definitely recommend using an electric whisk with this many egg whites)
To make around 12 mini-pavlovas you will need:
- 8 egg whites
- 500g caster sugar
- 3 tsps cornflour
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- pinch of salt
For the topping grab some whipping cream (about 600ml will be enough for 12 pavs) and any mixed berries or other fruit you fancy. I’ve gone for blueberries and raspberries. A dollop of sharp lemon curd added into the mix is great too.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C, line 3 baking trays with parchment, and get your electric whisk out and ready to go. Take a teacup (or any round object measuring around 8 – 9cm diameter, I find most of my tea cups are around this size) and draw circles on your parchment, around 3-4cm apart. You should be able to get 4 on each baking tray. (This is a Nigella tip – it’s a great way to make sure they’re all roughly the same shape/size).
2. Add your egg whites with a pinch of salt to a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. This will take ages for 8 egg whites – it took me around 12 minutes of continuous whisking on the medium speed setting of the KitchenAid. It needs to look like this picture..
3. Once you have soft peaks, gradually add the caster sugar, whilst the electric whisk is still going. I add it one tablespoon at a time. After it’s all added, keep whisking for around another 8 – 10 minutes, until stiff peaks form and stay when you lift the whisk out of the mixture. When it’s ready it will be thick and glossy. Once it’s the right consistency, fold in the white wine vinegar, cornflour and vanilla extract.
4. Spoon onto the drawn circles on your baking trays. About two tablespoons should be enough for each circle. Try to make indents in the centre to hold the cream and berries. Place the trays into the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 150C. Bake for 30 minutes, and then turn off the oven and leave the pavs in the oven for a further 30 minutes. Then remove from oven and leave on a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t serve them until they are completely cool – it’s the cooling process that forms the marshmallow texture.
5. Finally, top with some whipped cream and your chosen berries…
… et voila, you’re done!