We may not be Australian according to our passports, but we did spend our formative years Down Under. And as a result, a little piece of our hearts will forever remain there, on the beach, at the barbecue, on that beautiful land.
Pavlova is the most festive of all Australian desserts, it's usually eaten on Christmas Day as part of the lunch buffet. Light, chewy and filled with berries and cream, what's not to love?! We paired our version with sumac, because... Yum!! But also because it does a lot to cut through the intense sweetness of the meringue!
For the meringue:
8 egg whites at room temperature
A pinch of salt
500 g caster sugar
4 tsp cornflour
2 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
600 ml cream, whipped until firm
1 tbsp sumac
1 tbsp caster sugar
Approx. 500 g of mixed berries - we used cherries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Line two baking trays with baking paper and trace one larger circle and one slightly smaller one to create your layers later.
2. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. The eggs should hold their shape when you take out the whisk.
3. Then beat in a tablespoon of sugar at a time until the mixture is stiff and glossy. The egg whites should be smooth, and the granules dissolved, if the mixture is still grainy, keep whisking. Add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and fold in gently.
4. Pile the the mixture on to the baking paper, using the circles you traced earlier as a guide, this is done easiest with spatula. Flatten the top and smooth the sides.
5. Place in the oven, and immediately reduce the heat to 150°C/130°C fan/gas mark 2. Cook for around 75 - 90 mins. Do not open the oven before this! Check the pav by tapping it very lightly, if the exterior is hard and sounds hollow, you're all good. If it feels slightly gluey or you spot some liquid on the baking tray, leave it for another 10 minutes and check it again. Once you're happy with it, turn off the oven and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.
6. When ready to serve, peel the pavlova from the parchment and turn upside down onto a large flat plate. Combine the cream with the sugar and sumac. Dollop the cream onto the pavlova and decorate with fruit, then repeat with the next layer and ENJOY, mate!
PS The outside of the pavlova might crack and crumble a bit, but don't worry! This is completely normal.