The Great Aussie Pav
While its origins may be a contentious issue (the Kiwis have long claimed they invented the sweet and gooey dessert but history books suggest it was actually the Americans), there’s no doubting Australians have made the pav their own.
Or tried to at least, as anyone with a sunken meringue base could tell you.
Luckily, with a little bit of patience, the perfect pavlova is within reach. “It’s important to take your time making the meringue,” says Christopher Whitehead, Executive Chef of ivy. “In particular, you want to make sure you’re adding the sugar to the egg whites gradually and not adding more until it is wholly dissolved in the mixture.”
After cooking, too big a change in temperature makes the meringue collapse, so Christopher recommends completely cooling your pavlova in the oven before taking it out to dress.
Christopher prefers to keep it simple when topping his pavs. “Strawberries and cream is a classic combination,” the chef says. “And passionfruit is a good way to add some tartness to cut through all the sweetness. But really, any seasonal fruit would work.”
130g egg whites, room temperature (approx. 4 whites from large eggs)
230g caster sugar (can be infused with vanilla if preferred)
1 vanilla bean, spilt
1 tspn white wine vinegar
¼ tspn salt
1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C
2. Add salt to egg whites and whisk in mixer or with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Begin at a low speed, and gradually build up to full speed. It will take 3 – 4 minutes to get soft peaks.
3. Very gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time, making sure each tablespoon is fully dissolved before adding more.
4. Scrape seeds from the vanilla bean into the vinegar and fold through the meringue.
5. Either pipe meringue into 6cm rounds on baking paper lined baking trays, or for one, full sized pavlova, place mixture into a 20cm round cake tin lined with baking paper. Use a spatula to smooth surface.
6. Bake for 40 minutes.
7. Turn oven off and open door, leaving meringue inside to cool for 50 minutes.
8. Top pavlova with softly whipped cream, fresh fruit and passionfruit curd.
½ cup caster sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
6 passionfruit, pulp
1. Stir sugar and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved.
2. Remove from heat and add passionfruit pulp and eggs. Whisk to combine.
3. Return to low heat and stir continuously until mixture thickens. Do not allow to boil.
For more delicious treats, visit chef Christopher Whitehead at ivy.