I remember my first visit to Australia. I was staying with my best friend, and we were invited to dinner at her parents house. When dinner was over, her mother brought out dessert - and I remember thinking it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen on a plate. Light, airy, like a cloud floating in front of me - I'd never heard of pavlova before that, mainly because it's not really big in Europe, and I just couldn't wait to try making it myself. Little did I know how easy it was!
Now, before I go on, I have to say I know it's Australia Day today. And I also know that pavlova is officially claimed by New Zealand as one of *their* desserts. It's just coincidence that I happened to have made some for today. To really celebrate Australia Day, you'll need my Lamington's recipe, which you can find HERE. Happy Australia Day!
I have to say, these pavlovas were really inspired by Kerrin from MyKugelhopf when she posted about her Ottolenghi Meringue obsession a few days ago. And I must admit, I'd been an Ottolenghi virgin up until yesterday. I met up with my gorgeous Tea Ladies, Davina from The Sugar Bar and Su-yin from Bread et Butter, for a fabulous day out at Ottolenghi. I couldn't fault anything we ate - flavours and textures were as close to perfect as you can imagine, and don't even get me started on the desserts... banana toffee brownies, polenta lemon cakes, and windows piled high with their gorgeous signature meringues. It was all very inspiring!
And now, for a little giveaway: Holly of ChocoHolly is giving away a selection of her lovely organic chocolates: 4 organic taster bars, 2 organic chocolate fish and 1 organic white chocolate heart lolly. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I will choose the 3 lucky winners using Random.org, and you'll receive the chocolates shortly after - perfect for Valentine's Day. Open to everyone, everywhere. Closes on Monday 1st February.
A big THANK YOU to everyone for your comments and lovely book recommendations on last week's Muffcakes post. I've got a lovely long book wish list now!
One last thing: my 'About' page is finally up, so if you're interested in finding out a little bit more about me and my blog, it's all on there.
Vanilla & Ginger Pavlova Recipe
(for a printable version of this recipe, please click HERE)
Makes 6-8 meringue nests
225g (1 cup) caster sugar
100g (1/2 cup) icing sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp ground ginger (you can leave the ginger out if you're not feeling particularly adventurous)
Seeds of 2 vanilla beans (or 1 tsp vanilla essence)
Whipped cream or custard
1. Preheat a conventional oven to 200˚C. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat. Whip eggwhites with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.
2. Mix caster sugar, icing sugar, vanilla seeds and ginger in a bowl. Gradually add the sugar mixture a tablespoon at a time to the eggwhites while mixing.
3. Mix in the vinegar, then fold in the cornflour.
4. Using two tablespoons, form meringue nests on your prepared baking tray, using one spoon to clean the other, all the while turning your meringue nests into your desired shape with the back of your spoons. Again, use the back of a spoon to create a slight basin in the middle of each meringue. You will need this once the nests are ready. Turn down your oven temperature to roughly 120˚C, place your baking tray in the oven, and bake for 1 - 1.5 hours.
5. Turn the oven off and keep the pavlovas in the oven for about another hour or until the oven has cooled down. The trick is to dry out the meringues and not 'bake' them. Once cool, place whipped cream or vanilla custard in the basin of each meringue and top with blueberries, strawberries and passion fruit.