The Great Pavlova

Tradition has it that this incredible piece of confectionary was concocted in honour of the great Anna Pavlova when she came out here to dance, and is supposedly based on the fluffy white romantic tutus she wore. Whatever. It has since become a staple of every true-blue Australian party or celebration. Its great versatility allows it to be decorated in just about any colourings or designs you could possibly imagine, from your favourite football team's colours to a reasonable facsimile of an Australian Trapdoor Spider's nest!

You will need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 and a Teaspoons of cornflour
  • 1 Teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 500 gr (1 lb) of castor sugar
  • 1 and a Teaspoons of white vinegar
  • A warm basin
  • 1 oven tray well greased, and dredged with equal quantities of cornflour and icing sugar

And this is what you do:

Beat the egg whites in a warmed basin with a pinch of salt until stiff. Add the sugar two tablespoons at a time, whilst still beating. Add the cornflour and vinegar and beat in well. "Plop" the stiff mixture onto the oven tray in as neat a round blob as you can - try to make the edges a little higher than the middle. The resulting "mound" of the mixture should be about 2 and 1/2 inches high all over. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 1/2 an hour at 150C (300F), then for a further hour at 135C (275F). Allow to cool completely before filling with fresh, hand whipped cream. The cream should be whipped with a Tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla essence - liqueur and/or other flavourings (such as chocolate) can also be added whilst whipping. Fill all of the interior of the Pavlova with the whipped cream, being careful not to break the meringue shell, and leaving the outer edges exposed (which is why I said to make the edges a little higher if possible!) Decorate as desired, using tinned, fresh or freshly stewed fruit (drain tinned or stewed fruit first!), toppings (for added colour), chocolate or other sprinkles - in short, let your imagination run wild!

To serve:

Chill well before serving, and keep leftovers (if there are any!) in the fridge. Have a "Pavlova Party" and have a prize for the best decorated Pavlova!



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