Recipe: Foolproof pavlova

ROB KABBOORD
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2013
pav
MELANIE FAITH DOVE

THE PERFECT PAV: This meringue concoction is made all-the-more delicious because passionfruit and lemon are guest stars.

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FOOLPROOF PAVLOVA

4 egg whites (5 if you are using small eggs)

250g pure icing sugar or fine castor sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon cornflour, sifted

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Prepare a baking tray by placing baking paper on it. Put a little melted butter or vegetable oil spray on the tray so that the paper will stay in one place while you are spooning the pavlova mix onto it.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on a medium setting until soft peaks form.

Once soft peaks appear, add the sugar all at once and beat the mixture for a minute or so on full speed. Do not stop the machine to add the sugar. It needs to be a continuous process to trap as much air as possible in the egg whites. You'll see the mixture change texture almost immediately, from loose, soft peaks to a more glossy, meringue-style mixture.

Turn the mixer up to high until the mixture thickens and the sugar has completely dissolved. It needs to reach the ribbon stage - when a spoonful of the meringue mixture poured back into the bowl sits on the surface like a ribbon.

Slow the machine, add the vinegar and let the beaters make three rotations, then remove the bowl from the mixer.

Sprinkle the cornflour over the egg white mixture and, using a clean spatula, gently fold in the cornflour - no more than six folds.

Spoon the mix on the prepared tray and mould it into the shape you want. Kabboord prefers to leave it pretty heaped. Don't mess with the mix too much, though, as you want to get it in the oven quick smart. The other option is to use a preheated and lined tray. Speed is the key here.

Place the tray in the middle of the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 120 degrees Celsius.

Don't use the fan.

Cook for 80-90 minutes but don't let the pavlova colour. You may see a little sugar syrup seep out of the bottom but the crust should be firm. Inside, it will be soft and marshmallowy.

Cool to room temperature and decorate using quark, Meredith goat's curd or mascarpone (cream is boring!) and your favourite toppings, such as chopped summer fruit or passionfruit custard.

STORAGE: Kabboord says it's best to make the pavlova a day before you serve it but it will keep for up to two days in an airtight container at room temperature. Don't refrigerate it.

PASSIONFRUIT CUSTARD

450ml milk

145g sugar

Zest of 2 lemons (use a Microplane)

60g cornflour, sifted

4 egg yolks

60g unsalted butter, cut into small dice

4 passionfruit

Juice of 2 lemons

 

Simmer the milk, sugar, lemon zest over medium heat.

Mix the cornflour with a little water and pour this in to thicken the mix. Whisk in the yolks and simmer. Do not let it boil.

Take the custard, which should be nice and thick, off the stove. Add the butter and whisk. This helps cool the custard.

Add the passionfruit pulp and lemon juice. When cool, spoon over the pavlova or serve alongside.

- Good Food 

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