Prep 25 mins
Cook 45 mins
This is an adopted recipe. My thanks to all those who have reviewed this.
- 3 egg whites
- 3 tablespoons water, cold
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 3 teaspoons cornflour
- Beat egg whites until they are stiff.
- Add cold water to the eggs, beat again.
- Add castor sugar gradually while still beating.
- Add vinegar, vanilla and cornflour, again, while still beating.
- Put greased paper on a greased tray and bake at 150 degrees C (300 F) for 45 minutes.
- Cool in the oven.
It's as good as any I have tasted, and better than most. The secret is in the vinegar, it makes the centre soft, like marsmallow, while the outside is a crisp baked meringue. In Australia we form a well in the centre prior to baking so it can be filled with fresh fruit (sliced banana, strawberries, Kiwi fruit and then covered in passionfruit pulp, double cream etc.), just prior to serving. The name comes from the ballet dancer of the same name in the early 1900's. There is some dispute as to who actually created this dish for her originally, with hotel restaurants in New Zealand and Australia both claiming to be the originators. Who cares, it is devine decadence.
My friends from the land of Oz, said that it was as near perfect as they have ever eaten.
I made this recipe last night, and seven perfect pale beige mini-pavlovas were waiting for me in the cooled oven this morning. However, I only used a half cup of sugar, and they're still a lot sweeter than I'd like. (I use only one tbsp per egg white to make meringue for lemon pie, and that's plenty sweet for me.) Sweetness is a matter of taste, however; the method works fine, and is easy!
Following somebody's tip somewhere, which said to only add as much water as needed, I added only half the water, waiting to see if the rest was needed, but the mix ended up firm enough to spoon into nest shapes to hold the cream and fruit, so I didn't add more. I think that the amount of water needed is something each cook needs to play with, and it's probably affected by humidity, altitude, freshness of egg whites, and phase of the moon! (37% humidity in the house, 3600' elev., eggs laid the same morning, last quarter moon ;-) )
On a hunch (and lacking tinfoil), I baked the pavs on parchment paper on ungreased cookie sheets, and they popped off perfectly, no residue, crumbs, goo, cracking, or tearing. I've wrapped most of the pavs in paper to absorb any moisture (hah!), then in plastic, and now they're in a sealed cookie tin in the freezer so nothing crushes them...apparently they can be frozen for up to a month.
North American readers, please make sure that you use corn STARCH, and not corn FLOUR that you'd use to make tortillas! Happy munching!