MINI PAVLOVA'S (OR ONE LARGE ONE)
Nothing says Christmas more than a pav for dessert here in New Zealand. Weather its topped with traditional kiwifruit, or my favourite, summer berries – it really is what Christmas is all about. You can make this recipe for one large pavlova instead. Just bake for 1 ½ - 1 ¾ hours or until the pavlova lifts easily off the paper and isn’t sticky on the base.
The difference between a pavlova and a meringue is a meringue is hard all the way through. A pav has a crispy shell and a chewy centre. The cornflour stabilises the egg and the vinegar helps to give that chew. Also, ensure that you beat and incorporate the sugar to the egg slowly, at least 10minutes. You want to get the right amount of body and for the sugar to be completely dissolved. Also, the best results ive ever had for a pav is when I have opened the oven door and allowed it to cool completely in the oven rather than pulling the pav out. I find that this technic doesn’t ‘shock’ the pav with the change of temperatures.
NOTE: Mini pav's can be made the day before and stored in an air tight container.
Makes around 60 little pavs or one large one
6 egg whites (at room temperature)
2 cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (I use Heilala)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 teaspoon cornflour
50 mini cupcake cases or baking paper for larger pavlova
Snaplock or piping bag
300ml cream (just over 1 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
Snaplock or piping bag
2 punnets strawberries
2 teaspoons icing sugar
Pre-heat oven to 110ºC.
Beat egg whites, i used my stand mixer with the balloon whisk, until soft peaks form. If you don’t have one, use a large bowl (any bowl, apart from plastic. Apparently you get a better whipped egg white in a non-plastic bowl. There is probably some scientific answer to that)
Add the sugar little by little gradually a spoonful at a time. Don’t rush this step, it should take around 10 minutes and your mixture should be thick and glossy. If you rub some of the mix between your fingers you should feel no grains from the sugar. If you can feel the sugar, beat it more until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the vanilla paste, vinegar and cornflour.
Line two mini muffin tins (mine are 24 capacity each) with cupcake liners. They won’t sit exactly inside but the don’t need to, its more and a tray to hold them all for east transportation. Spoon the pavlova mix into a piping or snaplock bag. If using a snaplock like i do, snip off the tip. Pipe about a table spoon amount into each case. (OR if making a large pavlova, spoon the mixture out into a plate sized mound on a baking paper lined tray)With a damp clean finger, press down any little peaks that were formed on the pavs to give a flatter finish so the cream and berry can sit on nice and flat at the end. Bake for approx. 30 minutes (1 1/2 hours for a large pav) until dry and crisp and it lifts easily off the baking paper. Turn oven off an allow to cool completely in the oven before removing.
Hull strawberries and slice into 3rds. Add to a bowl with the icing sugar and toss gently to combine. It will tale a few minutes for it to absorb. What the icing sugar does is it gives then a really beautiful gloss, but also seals cut strawberries and prevents them from drying out.
Whip the cream. Add the vanilla paste. You won’t need any sugar as the pav is REALLY sweet already. For mini pavs its easier to pipe the cream on top (large pav you can just dump it in the centre and smooth out) Put into a snaplock bag, snip the tip and pipe cream on top. Place a sliced strawberry on top of the cream. Serve.