I feel like by titling this “My First Pavlova” I should be able to write about the lovely meringues I made in my Easy Bake Oven or something. I can’t believe I was intimidated by this thing for so long – maybe it was the size thing, or the fact that it requires hours and hours of uninterrupted oven cooling time. I don’t know. You know what? It’s not hard at all, and if you just follow a few simple steps, you can make this in your grown-up oven too.
This whole idea came out of Saveur, and the September 2009 article about New Zealand and pavlovas. Apparently the Australians hijacked the pavlova and claimed it as their own, which is why I have always thought this was an Australian thing. Apparently New Zealand invented and perfected the pavlova, and since Saveur told me this very convincingly and with very lovely pictures, I decided that it was New Zealand’s classic pavlova that would finally allow me to embrace meringue.
I’ve given you the recipe for the pavlova, which in the magazine calls for homemade lemon curd and provides a recipe, but you can find a better recipe for lemon curd at Fine Cooking. Or you can buy it. But, hint? Don’t fold the lemon curd into the whipped cream at the end … it will just glom all over the place and not stand up and the whole thing will look terribly messy. Oops. Oh well.
(From Saveur, September 2009.)
- 8 egg whites, at room-temperature
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. white vinegar
- 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, at a low speed, beat the egg whites and the sugar slowly until combined.
Increase speed to medium-high, and beat for about 14 minutes, or until soft peaks form.
Meanwhile, combine cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla. Once the mixture has hit the 14-minute mark, add the cornstarch mixture and continue beating for an additional five minutes, or until the mixture is very stiff with glossy peaks. You’ll know what I mean when you see it – it’s impossible to miss.
While all of this is happening, roll out a bit of parchment paper and trace onto it the base of a 9″ cake pan, with a pencil. Turn the parchment paper over, so that the pencil side faces down, and place it on a baking sheet. When the egg white mixture is ready, spread it out with a spatula onto the circle. Use all of your egg white froth – it will be fat and tallish when you’re done.
Place in the oven, and immediately reduce the heat to 215°F. Set the timer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Please do not open the oven door at any point after the pavlova goes in.
After the timer goes, turn off the oven. Once again, do not open the oven door. Let sit in the oven for three to four hours, until the pavlova has cooled. This is important. Humidity is the enemy of a crisp-on-the-outside, marshmallowy-on-the-inside pavlova. It might just deflate and turn to goop if you open the oven door. Be afraid of the oven door.
Once cooled, you can store the meringue in a dry, non-humid place (no refrigerators!) until you need to use it – mine sat for about five hours.
- 1 cup chilled heavy cream
- 1/2 cup chilled plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
Beat the cream, yogurt, and sugar until stiff peaks form. Top the cooled pavlova with this.
Top with any fruit you like, and then drizzle with the lemon curd. Serve immediately.
And so, I made a pavlova, and it was easier than I thought it would be. Look what eggs can do! Tremendous. And very, very tasty.