Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2014 is a healthy and stress-free one for us all.
Like all good Kiwis, I love making pavlova so I made one for New Year's Eve as we had some friends for supper. I would normally add my mother's favourite topping (also my favourite) of chopped crystallised ginger and walnuts (please try this as it's the best topping on a pavlova). However this time I decided to use fresh berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) even though they are out of season. I piled them high and made a raspberry coulis to pour over it. The berries are lovely and tart and the raspberry coulis is also tart which cut through the sweetness of the pavlova.
The recipe I use has six egg whites so makes a large pavlova but you can never have too much pavlova!
6 eggs whites
1 1/4 cups (270g) caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
300ml whipped cream
Preheat 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 (this is key to a good pavlova), 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. When completely cold, transfer to serving plate.
Use an electric mixer to whisk the cream in a medium bowl until firm peaks form (I never add sugar to the cream as the pavlova is sweet enough). Spoon cream onto the top of pavlova. Add topping of your choice.
I always add the cream several hours in advance of serving the pavlova.