Happy Australia Day!
I'm off to an Australia Day barbie today, and looking forward to burgers loaded with beetroot, pineapple, bacon and egg - just like dad used to make. I'm not Australian! I'm a Kiwi! no not the fruit, nor the bird, but a born and bred New Zealander, and NZ's closest neighbours are Australians. We often argue, make bad jokes about each other and strive to beat each other on the sports field, but put us 14,611 kilometres away from home and we're best of friends. We share the same values, we think the same way, and by and large we eat the same food.
There are always discussions about whether Australia or New Zealand created the first Pavlova, regardless of where it came from, it is a dessert enjoyed by both Ozzies and Kiwis alike.
When I asked my favourite Australian sheila what I could bring to the barbie, there was no hesitation. PAV! she said, and I grinned...I love making a good Pav.
For those that haven't experienced the joy of a Pavlova, it is a meringue based dessert, crunchy and crispy on the outside and soft and marshmallowy in the middle and smothered in whipped cream and fruit of your choice. Strawberries are always a favourite, passion fruit are a nice touch, and in this case mangoes are a lovely option. I've saved my favourite fruit for last so that I can clarify a popular misnomer - the fruit is kiwifruit, k-i-w-i-F-R-U-I-T! did you get the emphasis on fruit, regardless of how they are labelled on your supermarket shelf, they are not KIWI's! A kiwi is a New Zealand flightless bird, that only exists in NZ and is one of our national icons. We can call ourselves Kiwis as a friendly colloquial term to emphasise our affinity with our home country, but we do not call kiwifruit Kiwis, unless they lay big fat eggs, run around in the dark, and squawk. Rant over.
Enjoy your Pav!
- 6 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 250 mls whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence extra
- 1 very ripe mango, sliced
- pulp of 3 large passion fruit
1. Line a baking sheet with baking paper, mark out a 20cm circle on the paper. Turn the paper over so the pen or pencil doesn't get onto the meringue. Heat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius (200 degrees Fahrenheit).
2. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add in the caster sugar one spoon at a time. whisking well in between to dissolve the sugar. The final mixture shouldn't be gritty, if it is, beat until it is smooth. Add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla essence and whisk to combine.
3. Spread the meringue evenly on the baking paper to the edges of the circle. Fluff up the top to form peaks (these will crisp up).
4. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the meringue is crisp and not moist to touch. If the meringue starts to brown, turn the oven down to 80 degrees. Turn the oven off, leave the door ajar, and leave the Pavlova in the oven until the oven is cold.
5. Beat the cream with the sugar and vanilla essence until soft peaks form. Spread onto the Pavlova and top with fruit of your choice.