Friday, April 26, 2013

Aussie Pavlova (The Back Seat Chef)

The Australian flag pavlova from the book, image courtesy Jason Thomas

‘Is that what yours is going to look like?’ my husband asked quite seriously, pointing at the picture in the book.

‘Nope,’ I said. ‘But only because blueberries were $7 a punnet and you need two punnets and I couldn’t find strawberries to save my life.’ I was cracking eggs into my KitchenAid. There was no way I would consider this recipe if I had to beat the egg whites by hand. By that I mean, using a hand mixer.

Sidenote: how on earth did they make the first meringues prior to the invention of electric hand mixers. They must have literally whipped them by hand, it would have taken hours. Boring.

It was noon on Anzac Day and since I had already missed my opportunity to make this Australian flag pavlova for Australia Day, I was determined to make it for the next big Aussie holiday. Maybe I could spell ANZAC out in blueberries…

Leaning tower of egg shells

Husband noticed I was separating eggs.

‘Haven’t you made it yet?’ he asked, concerned.

‘No, why?’ I responded completely oblivious.

‘Did you actually read the recipe?’ he said. I finished cracking the last egg. I had made an executive decision to make ¾ of the recipe because I couldn’t figure out what I was going to do with eight egg yolks. Six was so much more manageable. Not.

‘Yes,’ I told him. ‘It needs to cook for an hour and a half. It will be out of the oven by two thirty, so there.’ Mature response, Shannon.

‘Yes, but did the read the bit about how it needs to cool. In the oven.’



So I did what any self-respecting home chef did, and I Googled it. According to some baby forum it can take up to two hours for an oven with a pavlova in it to cool. It has to cool slowly or else it cracks.

YummyWebMummy#45 says ‘don’t make pavlova if you have to use the oven for other things, or make it last so it has plenty of time to cool.’

Bugger. I had planned on roasting some vegetables for a salad to serve at my Anzac Day BBQ. Looks like salad was going to be off the menu.

‘You know what I’m going to subtitle this post?’ I asked my husband. ‘The back-seat driver. Or back-seat chef…’ I snarked at him.

‘Did you remember to put the vanilla in?’ he replied.

It’s easy as sin to make a pavlova (provided you have some gadget to beat the egg whites for you). A lot of egg whites, a pinch of salt, an enormous quantity of sugar and then a sprinkle of cornflour and white vinegar.

I scraped the meringue out and was very tempted to leave it in this rather exotic shape.

One day I am determined to make a pav that looks like this

But then I decided it might take even longer to cool, so I carefully sculpted it into something resembling a rectangle (that a toddler might draw).

Into the oven and half the afternoon later, it was done.
I can always blame the dodgy shape on the kids
It wasn’t looking too fancy but then I read in the recipe that you were meant to invert it onto a plate. Whoopee, a cake’s bottom always looks better than the top, so why wouldn’t this rule also apply for a pav?

Except my pav’s bottom seemed to have a case of sugar pimples. I don’t know, maybe I didn’t beat the sugar in properly, but the base was dotted with delicious sticky and sweet (but disturbing looking) brown balls. Crap.

Hmmm don't remember seeing that in the recipe book

Until I read the next step: cover liberally with cream. Yay.

I felt a bit silly turning my pav into an Aussie flag so I decorated it like this instead. Cool huh.

Ta da!

It was a raging success. It was all marshmallowy and soft in the middle. Everyone had at least two helpings. My almost-six year did some Jedi mind-tricks and had three helpings. Possibly four.

My thoughts

It was only the next day that I was thinking about the whole oven-cooling-no-cracking thing.

If you invert it on a plate and/or cover it with cream anyway, who cares if it cracks?

What do you know YummyWebMummy#45 ?

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