This is the first time I have made a pavlova. My mum has always been the pavlova chef so I have never needed to make one. It was a hot Spring day that felt like summer was here, and I had a hankering for a pavlova, thanks Womens Weekly for providing the instructions. I never knew it was so easy. I have made meringue before, see the Crispy Chocolate Meringues recipe, but never a full pavlova. Just make sure your beat the sugar until it dissolves, rub the mixture between your fingers to test otherwise during and after baking it sweats droplets. It is such a delicious, sweet and crunchy summer desert, enjoy.
2 teaspoons butter softened
2 teaspoons cornflour
5 egg whites at room temperature
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour, extra
375ml thickened cream, whipped (see note below)
250g strawberries quartered
1 mango diced or sliced into small pieces
1/3 cup passionfruit pulp (optional)
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F (130°C/250°F fan forced). Grease a lined cookie tray with softened butter, then sift the cornflour over the greased area.
When separating the eggs, do not get any yolks into the whites as they won't whip as well. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating until dissolved between additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold in extra sifted cornflour.
Pile the meringue into the centre of the prepared tray.
Use the back of a metal spoon to spread the meringue into a 23cm circle, making a shallow well in the centre, a bit like a birds nest a little higher at the sides to hold in your cream and fruit topping.
Reduce the oven temperature to 100°C/200°F (80°C/180°F fan-forced). Bake pavlova in the lower half of the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until dry and crisp. Turn off the oven, cool in oven with door ajar. Serve pavlova topped with whipped cream, strawberries and mango (passionfruit opptional).
Note: When whipping cream add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar, it gives the cream a fuller flavour.