My family has a thing for meringues. My grandmother loved them and so we all think of her every time we enjoy a dessert that incorporates one. Through osmosis (or just watching Mary Berry on Great British Bakeoff's Masterclass, to be honest) my daughter has taken quite a fancy to them, too! She can recite most of this Pavlova recipe by heart and gets really excited when Aldi's has berries on sale because she knows that is the most likely time I will craft this lovely dessert!
I haven't felt quite as excited about the results because I seem to overcook my meringue even when I cut back the temperature. With a little extra time on my hands due to a break from schooling, I decided to finally figure out how to keep my meringue as white as they do on tv and hopefully not fall apart quite as much as they have before (a little breakage is normal).
So, after my third attempt, I am finally happen with my recipe and cook times!
Rachel Loewens' Pavlova
For the pavlova:
6 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp cornflower
For the frosting:
20 oz heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 oz powdered sugar, sifted
1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Draw an 8": circle (I trace a plate) on parchment paper and place on a baking sheet.
2. Whisk egg whites in a clean mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Make sure there are no traces of oil on the bowl or the whites won't whip up as well. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue whisking on high speed until you have stiff peaks. In the meantime, combine the rice vinegar and cornflower in a cup. Once the whites are stiff and glossy, remove the bowl from the mixer and whisk in the vinegar/cornflower mixture by hand with the whisk attachment.
3. Using a flexible spatula, spoon the meringue around the edge of the circle and then fill in the middle.
4. Decrease the temperature of the oven to 275 F and bake the pavlova for one hour. Resist the temptation to open the oven and check on it! After an hour, turn the oven off and let the pavlova sit there for a couple hours or overnight.
5. Before serving, whip the cream, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar in a mixer until stiff peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream onto the center of the pavlova and add the fruit. This can cause the center to sink a bit, but that does not take away from the overall appearance. Sift sugar on top to finish.
You can easily make a half-size Pavlova like the one I did above if you are expecting a smaller crowd, just decrease the baking time by 20 minutes or so but still leave it in the oven for a few hours to complete the drying out process. Enjoy!
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