There are many ways to go wrong with a pavlova, but this method will help you avoid the classic trifecta of pavlova pitfalls: cracks, beads and collapses. The secret to this dessert is to stabilise the meringue with a mixture of starch and acid. Top it with some whipped cream and yellow fruits and you have a taste of Queensland.
- 125 ml (½ cup) water
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 4 egg whites
- 180 g caster sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 250 ml (1 cup) thickened cream
- 2 preserved or fresh skinless feijoa
- 1 nectarine, peeled, cut into pieces
- 1 gold or lady finger banana, thickly sliced
- 1 mango cheek, cut into thin strips
- ⅓ cup pawpaw pieces
- ⅓ cup pineapple pieces
- 1 passionfruit, pulp removed
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 3 hours
Preheat the oven to 130°C.
Place the water into a small saucepan set over high heat and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, combine the cornflour and vinegar in a small bowl. Stir the cornflour mixture into the pan and stir constantly for 20 seconds until translucent and well combined.
Using a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar until the egg whites are stiff and glossy and the sugar has dissolved. With the mixer on slow speed, add the cornflour paste, salt and vanilla extract, whisking until combined.
Meanwhile, draw an 18 cm circle onto a large piece of baking paper and invert onto a large baking tray. Shape the pavlova mixture onto the baking paper.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, turn off the oven, then allow to cool completely in the oven. Using the base of a tart pan as a spatula, very carefully transfer the pavlova to a cake stand.
Using a stand mixer, whip the cream to soft peaks. Layer the cream on top of the pavlova and scatter over the fruit. Serve immediately.