The 5 simple secrets to the perfect pavlova

By
The Editor
Added
24 December, 2013

The ‘pav’ is an Australian classic and so easy to master if you follow these 5 simple rules. We also share our favourite pavlova recipes, from the unusual to the iconic.

Famously named in honour of the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, a good Aussie pav is a beautiful marriage of light, crispy meringue with a marshmallowy soft centre, fresh cream, and all the summer fruits you can get your hands on. Legend has it that a chef in a hotel created the most magnificent dessert he could imagine for Anna Pavlova who toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Neither country can agree on who’s chef should be credited with inventing this dish, and both Australian and New Zealand claim it as a ‘national dish’.

Once tarred with the same brush as devils on horseback, or really any hors devours involving prunes, the pavlova has made a well deserved come-back. And don’t believe the rumours of it being a difficult dessert to master: if a few simple, but strict, rules are followed, it is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser that is easy to create.

1. The first rule of pavlova-making, is never, ever, open the door to the oven while it’s cooking.

2. The second rule of pavlova-making, is never, ever, open the door to the oven while it’s cooling. Once the cooking time is complete, turn your oven off and wait for it to be stone cold before removing your pavlova base.

3. Eggs will make or break you. Make sure your eggs are as fresh as they can possibly be, are room-temperature-warm, and, after separating them, there is not even a hint of yolk in your egg whites.

4. Make sure your mixing bowl is scrupulously clean, and wash it out with vinegar before you begin.

5. Be quick. The entire prep time should only take about 10 minutes, so have everything out before you begin, and don’t stop once you start. Those egg whites wait for no one.

Be sure to make the most of all the delicious summer fruits, from berries to stone fruits, or the king and queen of summer fruits – mangoes and passionfruit. And don’t be afraid to get creative – create individual pavlovas for a dinner party, or add lemon to give it a bit of a zing. Once you have mastered the basic pavlova, the world is your meringue.


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