Stage one, looking beautiful and glossy before going into the oven
This is based on the earlier recipe posted. Pavlovas can be tricky and variations in individual ovens seem to be the biggest factor affecting the result. You may need to experiment to get the ideal temperature for your oven.
- 4 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 8 tablespoons castor sugar
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 3 heaped teaspoons cornflour
- 1/2 cup coconut
- whipped cream
- fruit topping
To make a successful pavlova you need an electric beater. Always have the eggs at room temperature. Place the coconut on a sheet of baking paper and gently toast in a moderate oven for a few minutes until it starts to toast very lightly. Take care, with its high fat content coconut will brown very quickly. Separate the egg yolks from the whites and place the whites in the clean bowl of an electric beater (any grease on the bowl will spoil the result). It is important not to get any of the yolk (not even a speck!) in with the whites. Add the salt to the egg whites and beat at a medium speed initially for 2-3 minutes until they form peaks. Gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time and continue beating on a higher speed for about 10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the meringue is thick and glossy (it’s useful to follow this guide as any undissolved sugar will cause the pavlova to collapse and bleed). Whisk in the vinegar and cornflour. Beat for another minute and then mix in the coconut.
Use a spoon and place dollops of the mixture on to a piece of dampened greaseproof paper on top of an oven tray. Shape the pavlova by sweeping up the knife to form furrows. This will help stop the pavlova from collapsing. Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C . Put the pavlova into the oven and lower the temperature to 250 F/125 C and bake for an hour (if you are using a fan-forced oven then you will need to lower the temperature by up to 10 degrees centigrade and/or adjust the time). The pavlova should be off-white rather than brown. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova to cool in the oven. This can be left overnight. The pavlova will reduce in height during the cooling stage but if it’s successful it won’t collapse. Tip the pavlova upside down and peel off the paper and then place on to a serving plate. Put whipped cream on top and decorate with tropical fruit such as mango, pineapple or papaya as shown in the picture.
- Larger pavlovas can be made by increasing the number of egg whites and using 2 extra tablespoons of sugar to each additional egg white. Increase the cornflour proportionately and extra vinegar is not necessary. Larger pavlovas will need a longer cooking time.