A few weeks ago we celebrated KB’s birthday on a Tuesday evening up in Irish Town. Instead of making a regular birthday cake I decided to make a Pavlova for the celebration.
A Pavlova is a meringue cake that is light and delicate on the outside and soft and sweet in the centre, like toasted marshmallows. It is very simple to make and consists of egg white , sugar, vinegar and cornstarch beaten to stiff peaks and baked in the oven. Once the Pavlova is cool it is topped with whipped cream and fresh fruits and berries. The birthday Pavlova was topped with lychee, mangoes, grapes and kiwi.
The dessert was named after the Russian Dancer Anna Pavlova. The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer during a tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1926. Both countries claim to be the creator of the dessert.
Here is the recipe:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream
Fresh fruits such as kiwi, bananas, strawberries, pineapple or your choice of fruits
- Preheat the oven to 275F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch circle and set aside.
- Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl with a whip attachment on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.
- Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time beating the eggs until you finish the sugar. Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.
- Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.
- Spread the meringue in the circle on the parchment making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center so you have a very slight well in the middle.
- Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it is light pale colour.
- Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly.
- Remove the meringue from the oven and place on a plate.
- Whip the cream until it forms peaks.
- Mound the cream on top of the meringue and arrange the fruit on top.
It is indeed one of my favourites!