I love meringues and I love Pavlovas even more, its the texture, the sweetness, the crunch, the marshmallow inside.
Pavlova's have a different more creamy marshmallow centre than meringues. I always make mine with brown caster sugar as I like the flavour from the sugar, it makes the Pavlova more beige in colour rather than snow white, but that's OK by me. The best kind of Pavlova is one piled high with ripe fresh fruit laid on top of freshly whipped cream...its a lovely combination...add some icing sugar to the whipped cream to sweeten!
You need a food mixer for this unless you want your arm to drop off, seriously, but its really easy.
Ingredients: (this makes a large pavlova)
8 free range egg whites
500g caster sugar
4 teaspoons of cornflour
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
half teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Put a piece of baking parchment on a baking tray and draw on outline of the shape of the pavlova...usually a circle but can be any shape.
In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed, then whisk in the sugar, one tablespoonful at a time, until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
Sprinkle the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract over the egg white, and fold in lightly with a metal spoon.
Spoon the meringue onto the baking parchment within the marked circle and, using a spatula, flatten the top and smooth the sides. Make a dip in the centre for the cream and fruit later.Place into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 120C/250F/Gas ½. Cook for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave to cool completely.
When cold peel away the parchment put the base on a plate. Whip the double cream and add to the pavlova in the centre, pile on the fresh fruit and serve on its own or with ice cream and a fresh fruit sauce....
You can turn Pavlovas into birthday cakes for grown ups...just add some glitter (edible) and some longer style metallic candles and away you go.
The Pavlova (birthday cake)...
For the birthday girl... and very soon bride to be...(more about that later).
Thanks to Nigella Lawson for the pavlova recipe, it works for me every time I have made it.