The Pavlova is something of a rite of passage in the life of any self-respected Aussie baker, so it seems particularly ironic that I tried my first Pav in Canada courtesy of a North Vancouver bakery, and then spent one year in Australia sampling a variety of pavs, but did not make my first one till I went back to Vancouver for another vacation.
The recipe I followed was what looked to be (and proved to be) a solid winner from Taste.com.au. This served 7 happy people.
- 6 (59g) eggs, separated
- 1 1/4 cups (270g) caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 300ml thickened cream
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar mixture, sifted
- Finely shredded rind and juice of 2 limes
- 2 Lady finger bananas, thinly sliced diagonally
- 3 golden kiwifruit, peeled, thinly sliced
- 2 starfruit, thinly sliced
- Pulp of 2-3 passionfruit
- reheat oven to 120°C. Line an oven tray with foil.
- Brush with melted butter and dust with cornflour, shaking off excess. Mark a 24cm-diameter circle on foil.
- Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, until meringue is thick and glossy and sugar dissolved. Rub a little meringue between fingers. If still "gritty" with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar dissolves.
- Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and whisk until just combined.
- Spoon meringue onto the foil, using the marked circle as a guide. Smooth sides and top of pavlova. Use a small spatula to forms little peaks around edge of pavlova.
- Bake in oven for 11/2 hours or until pavlova is dry to the touch. Turn off oven. Leave pavlova in oven with the door ajar to cool completely.
- Use an electric mixer to whisk the cream and icing sugar in a medium bowl until firm peaks form.
- Spoon cream onto the top of pavlova.
- Pour lime juice into a ceramic or glass bowl. Add banana slices and toss to coat with juice. Drain. Decorate pavlova with banana, kiwifruit, starfruit, passionfruit and lime rind.
Given that I didn't use the traditional topping of Banana, Kiwi and Passionfruit, I skipped all of the italicised directions above and subbed with a pint of strawberries (roughly quartered), one mango (cubed), and some blueberries.