Or, if you are a kiwi, let's call it a day and say that you can keep Russell Crowe and we'll have the Pavlova... I'll even offer up Kylie to sweeten the deal!
Anyway, trans-Tasman rivalries aside, whether it was New Zealand or Australia who first created the pavlova, this lighter-than-air and larger-than-life dessert almost tastes like home too. Wherever in AustraZealand your home may be!
There are many different variations on the simple formula:
egg whites + sugar + extras = heaven
3 egg whites
1 cup of sugar
3/4 t cornflour
1 t vanilla
1 t white vinegar
1. If you have a stand mixer you will find this an easy peasy dessert! You need to beat the egg whites for a few minutes until they start getting white and fluffy.
2. Start adding in the sugar, bit by bit and beat well in between. You need to beat until stiff peaks form - this means that when you dip a spoon finger in to the fluffiness, you should be able to lift and a peak will be created! It's fun to do!
3. Slowly and very gently fold in the vanilla, cornflour and vinegar. Gently, you don't want to take all of the air out of the eggwhites.
4. How you assemble the meringue next is a very important step and can result in a flat meringue pancake if you're not careful!! I currently love using springform tins to bake my cheesecakes in, because I love the depth it gives the pavlova (not depth as in spiritfuality, but as in actual depth!). Firstly line the tin with parchment paper and then carefully and slowly spoon all the mixture into the tin. I use a medium cheesecake tin for this recipe, but I like mine quite deep.
5. Bake for an hour in a moderate oven, but check regularly that the tips aren't browning. The trouble with pavlova is that you can't really test it until you cut the first piece. There's nothing more heartbreaking than slicing a dessert in front of everyone, and it not being cooked properly, so be sure to allow this time to bake properly. It's harder to overcook a Pav than it is to undercook (and who likes raw eggwhites....blergh).
6. Turn off oven and allow the pavlova to completely cool in the oven.
7. Add whipped cream and whichever fruit you desire. Traditionally we always used to have strawberries, kiwi fruit and passionfruit drenching (ruining) the pav, but as I am not partial to these last two fruits, I make mine berry-topped.
I recently turned the pavlova recipe into mini-pavlovas atop Lemon & Shortbread shooters! Whichever way you do it, its delicious, light and plain heavenly.