Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Traditional Pavlova with Strawberry & Chantilly Cream - All Time Summer Party Favourite

It's always easier to make a big pavlova for gatherings in summer, for Christmas parties etc. And that's usually what I make for our church gatherings.

When we say the traditional pavlova, I guess every family in Australia has their own "traditional" version of the good old pav.  I guess we have all read the recent report about the Pavlova being claimed as a Kiwi tradition rather than aussie, which makes it even more perfect for our family to bring the big pav...  Both hubby and I have strong New Zealand connection.  Either way, it's our family tradition to bring our family tradition version of the pavlova to the party.

I usually make it simple, with chantilly cream and berries, this time, strawberries and currents.

The Pav:
6 Egg Whites (My cake carrier couldn't handle any bigger, but anything smaller won't be enough)
1.5 cup of caster sugar
1 table spoon of corn flour
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

There are not a lot of ways to make the base for the pav.  It's a baked meringue.  I've never made pav with Italian meringue, and just followed the traditional way of making the base.
It's always better to use room temperature eggs and egg whites separated a bit earlier, similar to the Macarons.
Pre-heat oven to 150C or 130C fan forced.
Whisk egg whites with salt till peak, slowly blend in caster sugar, whisk on high till silky and soft, blend in vinegar, vanilla extract and fold in corn flour.
Normally the instruction goes like draw a 20cm in diametre circle on grease proof baking paper...  but lazy people like me don't like to do extra work, which means, free form.  well, I normally lay the baking paper over my trust worthy pizza tray, it's round anyway so I think it's not to hard to work the meringue into the circular base.  I'm not too artistic with the sides... but that will do.
In the oven, ooops, reduce the oven to 120C or 100C fan forced before you chuck the pav in.

and bake for an hour.
Leave it in the oven over night.
It's alright, let it dry out a bit.

It doesn't really matter the next morning, it's lowered a bit in the middle and there are a bit of cracks on top, we are not baking macarons here, there will be toppings.  Of course, it might help with a new oven with more even distribution of heat... I will have my new oven installed in the new year...

The Chantilly Cream.
300ml thickened cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
60-80g icing sugar (well, that's approx because I didn't measure, let's say 70g, but maybe less)

Whisk cream till firm peak (I had to be at church at 10:00am in the morning, with the pav, the pasta bake and a pizza, so I whisked the cream the night before when I baked the pav base. normally if serve fresh, it's better to whisk the cream till soft peak, so it's a night before version here or easy to transport version)
Blend in a further 80ml thickened cream to loosen it up just before serving.

The Strawberry and Currents:
1 250g punet strawberry, halved.
1 bunch of currents.
50g caster sugar
1 table spoon lemon juice.

Marinate strawberry in caster sugar and lemon juice, half an hour before the topping.

Well, I didn't really get to taste the pav myself.  As soon as our friends knew it's home made from scratch, the pav went within 5 minutes.

The verdict, it's much nicer and cheaper to make the pav base ourselves.  And it's not that hard at all.  The case is not as dry and our friends love it.

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