I know, I know, how "out of Vogue" is Pavlova? Never really seen on a restaurant menu unless in the form of a Eton mess or another deconstructed form, it's more the territory of the dessert at an RSL or a budget conscious wedding. But if you allow me your honour to make my case, may I say that the proof is most definitely in the pudding or I should be more clear, in the requests for seconds. I recently served this up to guests who were at first curious at my retro choice but then each pushed their plates forward to gladly accept seconds. I've made Nigella's Chocolate and Raspberry Pavlova too to a similar ovation. Perhaps I secretly like the aghast look on people's faces and then the expression of embarrassment when they remember how good Pavlova actually is.
I know that Stephanie Alexander suggests flipping the pavlova upside down which actually makes sense but for this square shape it wouldn't do. The fruit used is the most classic Pavlova fruit: strawberries, kiwifruit and passionfruit. Of course you could use any fruit that you have in season and you'd still find it works wonderfully.
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An original recipe by Not Quite Nigella
- 5 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cup of caster sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar
- 1 1/4 tablespoons of cornflour
- 400ml of thickened cream
- 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
- Fruit of your choice (I used 1/2 punnet of strawberries sliced, 2 kiwifruit peeled and sliced and 2 tablespoons of passionfruit)
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 200c. Mark a 20x20cms square on a sheet of baking paper. Make sure that mixing bowl and beaters are thoroughly clean (I always wash them with detergent and very hot water beforehand and leave it to air dry). If there is any fat or oil on these your pavlova will not beat up stiffly. Apparently, you could also rub the beater and bowl with a cut half of lemon although I've never done this.
Step 2 - Separate yolks from whites, ensuring that no yolk goes into the whites at all. Beat in electric mixer on low at first then increase speed gradually until it starts to get fluffy. Add vinegar and roughly 1/3 of the sugar by the tablespoon until the mixture turns dry looking. Then another 1/3 of the sugar gradually and beat until stiff and sugar has dissolved. Test by inverting the bowl, if the meringue does not move then it is ready. Fold in remaining sugar and cornflour.
Step 3 - Arrange in a square shape on the baking paper using the written border and using a knife or spatula smooth the top and make stripe patterns on the side.
Step 4 - Reduce heat to 130c. Place on middle rack and bake for 1.5 hours. Once its time is up, leave it to cool in the oven with the door propped open (to reduce cracking, as you can see mine did anyway!).
Step 5 - Whip cream and sugar until you get lovely voluptuous soft peaks. Either pipe or pile the cream onto the pavlova. Then arrange fruit on top as you please and eat. Be prepared for seconds requests.