About three years ago, I was browsing through Joy of Baking and came across this beautiful dessert that was so weird to me. The only meringue I'd ever tasted was on a lemon meringue tart in a coffee shop and I hated it. Way too sour for my taste. And with my family, baking was super traditional - puddings, biscuits, cakes and the likes. That's probably the reason why I have a reputation in my family as being an adventurous baker, which can be mistaken for 'awesome' but let me assure you, some of the new recipes I try have sad results.
But not the pavlova. That was amazing. Light and sweet, and perfect with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries. It was so refreshing to have something sweet after dinner without needing much of an appetite. The only problem I had was the lovely marshmallow interior wasn't high enough. However, thanks to Masterchef Australia and Donna Hay, that issue was fixed - and beautifully, I might add. It was just a little something in the method that they mentioned during the episode.
4 egg whites (room temperature)
1 cup castor sugar
2 tablespoons maizena
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 150°C
2. Place the eggwhite in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with your handmixer, and whisk until stiff peaks form (This is the part I'm talking about - if you do this before adding sugar, you'll have a great marshmallow interior!). Gradually add the sugar, whisking well, until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and vinegar and whisk until just combined. Shape the mixture into an 18cm round on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. (With a rubber spatula, shape your pavlova a bit higher and smaller than you want it to be - it'll get slightly flatter and wider during baking. It doesn't have to be 18cm, I didn't measure mine.)
3. Reduce oven to 120°C and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.
4. Decorate with your desired toppings only when ready to serve, or the meringue begins to 'weep'. Otherwise, it can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
In this picture, I topped the pavlova with vanilla flavoured whipped cream and a mixed berry coulis since I didn't have fresh berries!
I love that this dessert uses just one mixing bowl. Less cleaning is always a bonus. If any of you try the Donna Hay method and get that lovely fat marshmallow layer inside, firstly - YAY - and second, let me know.