This was a wee bit of an experiment to use up some of those egg whites left over from making the Whisky and Ginger Ice Cream, and as pavlovas are best made with older eggs, the timing was perfect. Anyhoo - the addition of brown sugar gave the pavlova a really lovely caramelly flavour, it had perfectly crunchy meringue on the outside and was pillowy soft on the inside. I topped it with regular whipped cream sweetened with a tiny bit of icing sugar, fresh cherries and a sprinkling of praline. If I was to make this during summer, I would love to try topping it with roasted figs...mmmmm!
225ml egg whites (about 6) at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cornflour
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup fresh cherries (or fruit of your choice)
2 tbsp praline, optional (click here for praline recipe link) or chopped toasted almonds
Preheat the oven to 170˚C (340˚F) and put a piece of baking paper on a baking tray. Draw a 23cm circle (trace around a cake tin or similar) in the middle of the baking paper. Whisk sugars together in a bowl so they are well combined. Use an electric beater to beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. While the mixer is going, slowly add sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, then leave beater whisking the mixture until it is very stiff and glossy, and there is no gritty sugar texture left. Test by rubbing a little bit between your thumb and forefinger - if there is still a slightly gritty texture - keep beating. I am so impatient, I had to go and check my emails and put the washing on the line while waiting for it to be done...well worth it! Next sprinkle over the cornflour and vinegar and whisk briefly to fully combine. Take a tiny bit of mix and dab it on the underside edges of your baking paper to 'glue' it to the baking tray so that it doesn't move while you are 'sculpting' your pavlova. (An old granny's trick that works every time). OK - spoon out the mixture into the middle of your drawn circle and use a wide flat knife or spatula to mould it into a circle - have a bit of fun - if you want it smooth, go for it, or if you want big peaks, go wild! (Warning - there may be a little bit of crackage, but it should be minimal, and you are going to load whipped cream on top, so no worries!) Put in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 110˚C (230˚F). Cook for 1 1/2 hours, then turn off the oven, open the door a tiny bit (maybe wedge a wooden spoon in there) and leave to cool completely in the oven. Whip cream with icing sugar and serve topped with whipped cream and fresh cherries. Pavlova can be made the day before, and topped with cream and fruit just before serving. Serves 6-8 depending on appetite! (8 for us).
Do not use very fresh egg whites
Do not allow any yolk into the whites at all
Have egg whites at room temperature
Ensure sugar is fully dissolved before cooking
Don't try making on a really humid day - moisture is the enemy of pavlova and meringues