Australians will always have a soft spot in their hearts for pavlova or a "pav" as they call it.
Who can blame them? Pavlova is the perfect summertime dessert, marrying a crispy meringue base and marshmallow centre with whipped cream and a fresh fruit topping.
This iconic dessert was supposedly created in the 1920s to honour Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who was touring New Zealand at the time.
Pavlova is a staple at Aussie barbeques and get-togethers, and is most often served as one large dessert that is cut into slices. However, mini pavlovas are a wonderful way to enjoy pavlova at picnics and parties, where convenience and presentation are key.
If you're making these for a picnic, take the pavlovas in one container, and the bowl of whipped cream and fruit in the eski (or chiller container). When it's time for dessert, simply assemble them on the spot.
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 250 grams (1/2 lb.) caster sugar
- 2 tsp. cornflour
- 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. vanilla essence
- 300 mls. (10 oz.) thickened cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla essence
- 85 grams (3 oz.) caster sugar
- Seeds from one pomegranate (substitute with a punnet of strawberries)
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (360 degrees Fahrenheit).
2. Check that all equipment (bowl, beaters and measuring cups) is scrupulously clean to ensure the meringue rises properly.
3. Line three baking trays with baking paper and draw five 10 cm. diameter circles on each tray (trace around a large glass).
4. Beat egg whites and salt for a few minutes until peaks begin to form.
5. Add sugar in four batches, beating well after each addition until meringue is thick and shiny.
6. Sprinkle over cornflour, red wine vinegar and vanilla essence and fold in gently with a spatula.
7. Using a serving spoon, dollop spoonfuls of meringue onto each round, smoothing out with the back of the spoon and indenting each round slightly in the centre.
8. Put baking trays into then oven and immediately turn the oven down to 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees Fahrenheit).
9. Bake for 25 minutes and then reduce heat to 120 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for another 25 minutes.
10. Turn oven off and leave pavlovas to cool completely before taking out of the oven.
11. Whip cream with one teaspoon of vanilla essence and 85 grams caster sugar for 3-4 minutes until firm.
12. Dollop spoonfuls of cream onto each mini pavlova and garnish with a tablespoon of pomegranate seeds or sliced strawberries.