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The Perfect Pavlova

In this episode, Donna shows us how to perfect an irresistible slow-cooked beef brisket, along with a versatile Asian chilli jam and a delicious light and fluffy meringue.

Taking these must-have basic recipes, Donna shows us how to create clever variations of each, transforming them in enticing new ways that will inspire anyone to go from basics to brilliance.

Ingredients

  • For the no-fail meringue mixture
    • 225ml eggwhite (about 6 eggs)+
    • 1½ cups (330g) caster (superfine) sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
    • 1½ teaspoons white vinegar
  • For the perfect pavlova
  • 1 x quantity no-fail meringue mixture (see basic recipe above)
  • 1½ cups (375ml) single (pouring) cream
  • raspberries, passionfruit pulp and sliced peaches, to serve

Method

For the no-fail meringue mixture

  1. Place the eggwhite in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form.
  2. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until each addition is dissolved before adding more++.
  3. Once all the sugar has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and whisk for a further 10–15 minutes or until the mixture is thick and glossy+++.
  4. Place the cornflour and vinegar in a small bowl and mix until smooth.
  5. Add the cornflour mixture to the eggwhite mixture and whisk for 30 seconds or until well combined. Makes 1 quantity
    • NOTES
    • Making meringue is a science. Be sure to measure your ingredients carefully, including the eggwhites as egg sizes do vary. Fresh, room temperature eggs work best – when whisked they’ll become fluffy and voluminous, plus they’re more stable during baking.
    • Be patient when gradually adding the sugar to the eggwhite. Each tablespoon of sugar should be dissolved before the next is added.
    • Take care not to overwhisk the meringue mixture – it’s ready when it’s thick, glossy, smooth and there are no more sugar granules. You can check this by rubbing a little mixture between your thumb and forefinger.

TIP: It’s best to avoid making meringue on humid days. Excess humidity can cause meringue to sink during or after baking.

For the perfect pavlova

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F). Using a pencil, draw a 20cm circle on a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Place the baking paper, pencil-side down, on a lightly greased baking tray+. Spoon the meringue mixture into the circle to make a neat round. Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C (250°F) and bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool completely in the closed oven++.
  2. Place the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until soft peaks form. Place the pavlova on a cake stand or plate and top with the cream, raspberries, passionfruit and peach to serve. Serves 8–10
    • NOTES
    • Turn the baking paper so it’s pencil-side down on the tray – no marks will transfer onto the meringue.
    • Allow the meringue to cool gradually in the oven with the door closed – preferably overnight.