We all love a pav, and there’s always one person in every family who makes the best. If you’d like to be the one with the “pav crown” in your family, just followour recipe! A few simple ingredients and some precise technique you get the most delicious, marshmellowy-meringuey dessert ever!
It’s definitely an Aussie Christmas favourite, and with our native twist it’s sure to be a new family favourite. Wattleseed is a native spice that tastes a little like coffee, chocolate and hazelnuts… i.e. delicious! You can buy the extraxt in liquid form online: http://www.dining-downunder.com/shop/ . Otherwise, melt 2 heaped teaspoons of instant coffee in a little water and use instead.
Tips for the perfect pav:
- Start with ridiculously clean utensils, without a drop of grease or moisture. If you have one, use a copper bowl as it helps to stabilise the mix
- make sure you get absolutely no yolk in the mix of whites. Did you know that older egg whites whip better? Also, room temperature egg whites whip much better than cold.
- use caster sugar rather than white sugar, as the finer granules will dissolve more easily into the egge whites. Start adding the sugar slowly, tablespoon by tablespoon, only once the whites have been whipped to a soft peak. You will need to beat and beat and beat for quite a while – until all the sugar has dissolved. Check by rubbing a little of the mix between 2 fingers – you shouldn’t feel any sugar granules, it should be completely smooth.
- add a touch of acid (vinegar, lemon juice or tartaric acid) to stabilies the egg whites
- What turns a meringue into a pav? The marshmallowy texture on the inside, and the dry crisp outside! This is achieved by adding some cornflour to the mix and leaving it slightly underset. Making sure your height = diameter is also a good rule… a flat meringue will cook through to the centre too quickly, and remember that it will spread as it cooks. Dollop the mix on baking paper and use a pallet knife to lift up the sides, creating height and a nice smooth outside. A small well in the centre gives you a “bowl” like shape, perfect for filling with cream and fruit.
- humidity is the enemy! You can pre-make your pav shell a few days in advance but make sure you keep it in a cool, airtight container. On humid days, you may even need to cook it for a little longer
- don’t be tempted to peak – keep the door closed until it’s finished cooking
- let it cool in the oven, with the door slightly ajar, to prevent collapse (this can take up to 5 hours!)
- if your pav has cracked or collapsed (it’s inevitable) don’t worry too much, just cover with cream and no one will know!
Aussie Christmas Wattleseed Pavlova
- 6 egg whites
- 1 ¼ cup (270g) caster sugar
- 2 tsp corn flour
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 400ml thickened cream
- 1.5 Tbsp wattleseed extract
- 3 punnets of berries (try mulberries, red currants, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries)
- dark chocolate shavings, to serve
- spray oil, and a little extra cornflour
Preheat the oven to 120C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and mark out a 20cm diameter circle (the pav will spread beyond this circle once it starts cooking). Spray with some oil, then dust with cornflour and shake off the excess.
Place egg whites in a very clean bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time and continue to beat on high until all the sugar has been added and is thoroughly dissolved. Add sifted cornflour and vinegar, mix until combined.
Place pav mix in the centre of the circle on the baking sheet, and use a spatula or palate knife to very gently spread out the mix to the edges. Make sure to scrape up the sides to create an outside “wall” and that a slight hollow is left in the centre. Bake for 1.5 hours, then turn off oven and leave the door ajar. Allow pav to cool for about 5 hours, then transfer to a airtight container.
Using electric beaters, whip cream until thick and velvety. Stir in wattleseed extract. Spoon over the pav and decorate with berries and chocolate shavings.