What can I say about a Pavlova apart from the fact that it is a “classic”. Some people love them, some people not so much, but whatever camp you sit in there is always so much joy when you make a good pavlova to share with others.
When I worked with Tenina a couple of years ago (see here) I was delighted to be able to share this recipe with her … she was so happy with the results she kindly asked if she could use it in one of her Christmas e-books, and has since reprinted it in her latest fabulous cookbook “Cooking with Tenina” (see here). Because of this I didn’t see the need to post the recipe myself, however recently I was contacted by friends before Australia Day who were looking for the recipe on my website, and it occurred to me then that this is a good place for the recipe to appear too.
I got my Thermomix in April 2011 and at that time I never imagined I would want to make a pavlova in it … I had my trusty Kenwood (which is now more than 41 years old!), and it did a fabulous job of a pavlova so it was definitely not on my radar. However, over time I was asked by some people if a pavlova could successfully be made in a Thermomix, and therein started my challenge of trying to do exactly that.
It took some fiddling with the original Thermomix recipe (I made ten pavlovas in the process!) before my family put up the white flag and asked me to have a break from making them! But by then I had it sorted, and there were some things that I discovered along the way:
- when using a Thermomix you absolutely need to use 1 tsp cream of tartar in your mix to get a firm meringue (I never use this in my Kenwood, but cannot get a firm meringue in my Thermomix without it … and 1/2 tsp is not enough in my view)
- aged eggs are better than fresh eggs (you get more volume with aged eggs … see note below)
- the ™ bowl has to have a vinegar clean before you start (the bowl may look clean, but under the blades may not be)
- you have limits to how much egg white you can use (no more than 230g in a TM31, and 250g in a TM5)
- most chefs I researched used 55g caster sugar for every egg white used (so you can reduce the recipe if you wish)
- cornflour forms a “buffer” to help egg whites from overcooking, and helps to create a soft marshmallow centre characteristic of a pavlova (if you use too much it will give a “floury” taste and a chewy finish which is not reflective of a true pavlova) … it also helps to make the pavlova easier to handle once baked (but you still need to be gentle with it!)
- vinegar is an acid that helps to stabilise egg foam and can help reduce the effects of overheating (you can also use lemon juice but I prefer to use vinegar)
Since sharing the recipe with Tenina I have made a slight adjustment to my process … I now mix together the cornflour, white vinegar and vanilla extract together before adding it as a liquid to the meringue at the end of the beating time, and blending it in for 10 seconds instead of 1 minute. As a liquid I find it incorporates itself better into the mix which is perfect for me.
Like all cooks I am always on the look out for different ways to do things, and whilst I love my method for making pavlova, I also love the method utilised by Alyce Alexandra in her fabulous book “Recipes From Our Cooking School” (see here) … so I have used that method too but with my ingredients … both methods work equally as well with a very slight change in the end result (Alyce’s method will give a slightly softer marshmallow, mine is a slightly firmer marshmallow).
You can make this as one large pavlova, or as little mini meringues (2 rounded teaspoonfuls dobbed on top of each other), or slightly larger mini meringues (one large rounded dessertspoon each) … I have made all of these variations and love them all … it is just a matter of how you plan to serve the meringues and let that be your guide.
As a tip last Christmas I made mini meringues which I sprinkled with rose petals before baking (see post for pics), then served them on a platter with separate containers of lemon curd (see here), roasted mixed berries (see here), whipped vanilla cream, and maple roasted pecans (see here) for everyone to help themselves too … I was amazed with the response as people went back for seconds (which is not customary during the festive season). But when I reflected back to the occasion I felt the key was that people could help themselves to as much or as little as they liked, which is always a definite winner at any time of the year. So consider this the next time you have a group gathering and are looking for something easy to offer.
Also last Saturday I had dinner guests and decided to make slightly larger mini meringues (the dessertspoon size … see pic in main post), and these were perfect served with the roasted baked berries (can you tell that I just love them!), whipped cream, a big dollop of Vanilla Bean Dessert Custard (using the egg yolks from the whites that I used for the pavlova … see here), sprinkled with toasted sliced almonds and dusted with icing sugar … it went down a dream!
When making a large pavlova I always prepare it the evening before I plan to serve it and allow to completely dry out in the oven overnight. I remove it in the morning putting it immediately into a sealed container where it stays until I am ready to place it onto a serving platter for “dressing up”. Before adding my toppings I lightly poke my fingers into the top crust to make a “well” where I put my fillings allowing them to strategically “drip” over the sides a little whilst still being contained in the centre making it easier to cut even slices … this is just a suggestion but I find this works really well for me.
With smaller meringues I also bake them the night before I need them and allow to stay in the oven overnight, but as they dry out a little more (because of their smaller size) they keep nice and crisp in a sealed container for a good three to four days so if needed you can definitely make these well ahead knowing that they will maintain their crispy shell.
When making a pavlova it is vital that you start with a clean bowl and butterfly so always do a vinegar clean before starting the recipe … I use a simple process of 1 litre water with 30g vinegar x 10 minutes x Veroma x speed 2. Rinse out the bowl in cold water and ensure it is dry before commencing recipe.
For this recipe you can use up to 230g of egg whites for a TM31 or 250g for a TM5 … if you use more it is difficult to get the right amount of air beaten into the egg whites to ensure a stiff meringue. I always weigh the whites so it will depend on the size of your eggs but usually 6 large eggs will give me between 210g to 230g egg whites which is perfect.
It is also better to use whites from eggs that are at least a week old (fresh eggs don’t whip up quite the same) … I also “age” my eggs further by separating the whites from the yolks … the yolks I keep in the fridge to use for another purpose (usually a curd or dessert custard for the pavlova, a mayo if I need it … see here, and ice-cream is always on the go … see here), and the whites I keep in a covered container on my bench top at room temperature.
Having said all of this … let’s get going …
Please see main post for more details
- 210 to 230g egg whites (approximately 6 large eggs)
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 330g golden castor sugar
- 1 tbls cornflour
- 2 tsp white vinegar / or white wine vinegar / or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp icing sugar mixture
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees (fan forced)
- Arrange rack into middle of the oven
- Combine the extra cornflour and icing sugar mixture
- Line a baking sheet with baking paper (use a dab of oil under paper to keep it in place) and use a small sieve to sprinkle over the cornflour/icing sugar mixture (this will help to release the meringue easily)
- NB: if making mini meringues there will be a lot of mix, so line two baking trays with baking paper and ensure your racks in the oven are evenly set apart to allow good air circulation whilst the mini meringues are cooking
- Ensure bowl and butterfly are clean (see note above) and insert butterfly
- Mix the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla together in a small container until it is well combined into a liquid
- Place eggs whites and cream of tartar into bowl and whip 5 minutes / 37 / speed 3.5 (no MC)
- Set blades to 6 minutes / 37 / speed 3 (no MC) and with blades rotating slowly add the sugar one tablespoon at a time through the hole in lid … this should take you approximately 4 minutes, leaving 2 minutes for the mix to continue beating
- NB: Sometimes the mix will grow to right up under my lid making it difficult for the sugar to fully incorporate as I add it ... if this happens open the lid and use a thin spatula to get to the bottom of the bowl to release an air bubble that would have developed, you can now push the meringue down allowing it to drop into the bowl ... this doesn't always happen but if it does this is what you need to do
- Open lid and rub a little of the mix between your fingers … you should not feel any grittiness from the sugar, but if you do beat again for another 1 minute / 37/ speed 3 (no MC) … scraping around bowl first
- Open lid, create a little space around the butterfly with your spatula, add the cornflour mixture and whip 10 seconds / speed 3
- Transfer mix onto baking tray … do not flatten too much as the mix will flatten during baking (I spread it out to approximately 20cm diameter as it will expand beyond that during baking)
- Place into oven, close door and reduce temperature to 120 degrees
- Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes
- NB: if doing mini meringues bake for 1 hour only
- Switch off oven and leave to cool for approximately 3 hours until it is completely cool (I usually leave it overnight)
- When ready to serve, top with whipped cream or lemon curd and berries of choice