Strawberry Pavlova Recipe

Are you ready for a delicious Strawberry Pavlova recipe? You'll want to Pin and make this one! Hi there, it’s Jillian here with this month’s Delicious Bites column. I’ve just spent 5 weeks in Europe and I was there for the start of the berry season. I just love berries and I can’t tell you how many punnets of strawberries and raspberries I consumed while I was away. So with berries on my mind I decided to make a Strawberry Pavlova. Australia claims the Pavlova but our close friends and neighbours from New Zealand also claim it as their own. Whoever invented it was pretty clever because the combination of a crisp meringue shell, fluffy marshmallow interior topped with lashings of cream and fruit is a winner. I’ve seen many pictures of desserts claiming to be Pavlova but I’m pretty hard line when it comes to the definition. A Pavlova must be tall and it must have a marshmallow interior and if not, then it’s not a Pavlova.

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Do you have one of those old fashioned common sense cookbooks on your bookshelf that you turn to time and time again? Well I have a few and one of those is Maureen’s Simpson’s Australian CuisineI can’t claim this Pavlova recipe as my own, because it comes straight from the pages of this well used book, but I've changed the method a little. As long as you follow the recipe, it’s actually pretty easy to make but you need to allow plenty of time to make the meringue base and time to let it cool. The base can be made well ahead of time and stored in an airtight container. Once it’s decorated, the Pavlova loses its crunch quite quickly, so don’t decorate it too far in advance.

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Don’t worry if the top cracks while it bakes– it’s amazing what a dollop of cream can disguise. Generously top with berries. You really need something tart with a Pavlova to counteract the sugar in the meringue. Raspberries, blackberries or blueberries work well or as my brother prefers, simply drizzled with passion fruit pulp. Once decorated, stand back and bask in the glory as every-one admires your creation. Here's the recipe for you.

INGREDIENTS: 4 eggwhites / Pinch of salt / 1 heaped cup (230g) caster sugar / 1 teaspoon white vinegar / 1 20 ml tablespoon cornflour / 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  / 1¼ cups (300ml) thickened cream, whipped /1 punnet strawberries, washed and dried / Optional – icing sugar

METHOD: Preheat the oven (conventional) to 180°C/350°F. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper and using a 18cm (7 inch) cake tin as your guide, mark out a circle on the paper. Flip the paper over and use this as your template. In a large clean dry bowl, beat eggwhites with the pinch of salt until stiff. Add the caster sugar gradually, one heaped tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla extract. Pile or pipe the meringue mixture onto the baking tray, keeping within the marked circle. Smooth the top so it resembles a flat cake. It needs to be at least 5-6 cm (2-3 inches) high. Place the Pavlova in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 130°C/275°F and bake for 1¼ - 1½ hours or until the Pavlova is dry and very lightly coloured. Turn the oven off and allow the Pavlova to cool completely in the switched off oven. When cool, remove the baking paper from the Pavlova and store in an airtight container. Just before serving, top the Pavlova with the lightly whipped cream and berries and lightly dust with icing sugar if desired.

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This recipe serves six. If you’re serving a crowd you could make 2 separate Pavlovas or one really large one as this is an easy recipe to upscale. For each egg white, you need ¼ cup caster sugar, 1 teaspoon of cornflour and ¼ teaspoon each of vanilla extract and vinegar.  If you’re making a larger Pavlova, make an 8 or 9 inch template and extend the cooking time by 15 – 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

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See you all again next month with another Delicious Bites recipe. - Jillian

(text/styling/photography: jillian leiboff)