If you have been following our Ice ice Baby series and making any of our egg-based ice creams, you will probably have a lot of egg whites left. So what should you do with
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What is pavlova?
Pavlova is an iconic Australian dessert. Most Australians would say that it is probably Australia’s national dish. If it wasn’t for the debate over whether it was invented in New Zealand or Australia, this would probably be the case.+.
Pavlova is named after Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia in 1926. It is a meringue-based cake that has a crisp crust and is ‘as light as air’ inside, just like Anna Pavlova was when she danced.
I had never made it from scratch
I’m Australian and I bake reasonably regularly. It is an easy recipe to pull out when you have to make something ‘typically Australian’ for a function. It is therefore perhaps a surprise that I have never made a pavlova before. At least, I have never made it from scratch. I have always cheated and either used a mix or purchased one from the supermarket.
Even using a mix, I have not always had success. I tried to make one memorable pavlova while I was studying in Germany. I say tried as it remained runny, no matter how long it was in the oven. And it was in the oven for a
So it was with some trepidation that I decided to make pavlova from the egg whites that remained after making Baileys Irish ice cream. Luckily, the pavlova was as successful as the ice cream.
Tips for the perfect pavlova
Pavlova is surprisingly easy, as long as you adhere to a few rules.
- Make sure your bowl and whisk attachment are super clean. Even a little bit of fat will stop your leftover egg whites from turning white and fluffy. Give the bowl and risk attachment an extra wash in warm water with soap before using them to make the pavlova and dry them well.
- Make sure your leftover egg whites are not too old or they will not go white and fluffy as well and you risk salmonella poisoning.
- Use superfine caster sugar, not just regular sugar. Regular white sugar is too heavy and won’t give you that ‘light as air’ consistency.
- Use regular vinegar in the pavlova. Flavoured vinegar will just make the pavlova taste funny. However, strawberries and balsamic vinegar and basil glaze can be fantastic as a topping.
- Do NOT open the oven door until the oven is completely cool. This will normally be about one hour after turning off the heat but might vary depending on your oven. If you open it too early, your pavlova with sink.
The perfect mound of leftover egg whites
One thing I wish I had done better was to form the pavlova a little better before placing it in the oven. I just heaped it on the tray.
To get a better form, you can draw a perfect circle on baking paper and heap your whipped leftover egg whites into the middle of the circle. Then take your silicone spatula and form the egg whites into a nice round shape with a flat top and even nice ridges in the sides.
I am not suggesting that you need to go all out to have a great tasting pavlova. However, perhaps something in between anally sculpting the egg whites and just dumping them in a pile on the tray would be nice.
Top your pavlova with cream and fruit. The great thing is that you can use the cream and fruit to hide any of the inevitable cracks in your pavlova. Can you tell that I have had to do this on more than one occasion?
There is some debate about what traditionally goes on top of a
As far as fruit is concerned, it really is anything goes. Traditionally, it would be strawberries, kiwi fruit and passionfruit. Personally, I like raspberries and strawberries. Today, I used nectarines and raspberries, because that is what I had on hand.
Some people prefer to have chocolate on their pavlova. Strawberries with chocolate shavings are common. I have even seen After Eight chocolate mints on pavlova before.
What do you do with your leftover pavlova?
Assuming that you have leftover pavlova – and there are no guarantees that it will be the case – it can be used for Eton mess. It was one of Mum’s favourite desserts – she would order Eton mess regularly when we went out for dinner.
Eton mess: A mixture of strawberries or red berries, whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream and broken meringue. Mess refers either to its appearance or because it was ‘eaten in
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup of fine castor sugar
- 3 tsp. cornflour corn starch
- 1 tsp. normal vinegar
- Whipped cream
- Fruit or topping of your choice
- Preheat the oven to 150°C.
- Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Continue whisking the egg whites and add the sugar, little by little, until they become glossy.
- Sift the cornflour over the egg mixture and mix it in.
- Fold in the vinegar.
- Heap the egg white mixture onto a lined baking tray. The ‘heap’ should have an approximate circumference of 18 cm.
- Place the tray in the middle of the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 120°c. If your oven runs hot, turn it down to 100°c.
- Bake for one hour, then turn off the heat, keep the door closed and leave the pavlova in the oven until the oven completely cools. This will normally take about an hour.
- Spread with whipped cream and top with fruit of your choice.