By Chef Alli
Pavlova is an absolutely showstopping dessert that will impress friends and family. Topping it with whipped cream and seasonal fruits makes for a truly striking dessert.
6 egg whites at room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster (superfine) sugar (do not use granulated sugar)
3 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
½ cup frosty dried cherries, fresh cranberries or fresh raspberries
Frosty orange slices and rosemary sprigs
Please note: Because of the amount of cooking and setting time, it’s best to make the pavlova base the night before you’d like to serve it.
Preheat oven to 250 F. Using a pencil, trace around an 8-inch cake pan onto a sheet of parchment paper and set aside.
Use the whisk attachment on your stand mixer (or a hand-held electric mixer) to whisk the egg whites on low speed until they reach the soft peak stage, approximately five minutes.
Add the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time, counting to 10 between each addition. Once all the sugar is added, increase the speed to medium-high, continuing to whisk until the egg whites are at stiff peak stage. Test the mixture by rubbing a little between your finger and thumb; it should be glassy smooth. If the mixture is still grainy, keep beating until it is smooth when you test it.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and the cream of tartar. Add this to the egg white mixture, beating until just incorporated.
Now, take the sheet of parchment paper with the circle on it and place it onto a rimmed baking sheet. Place little dots of the meringue mixture under each of the four corners, pressing the paper down onto the baking sheet. Place a second sheet of parchment paper on top of the first one with the circle on it (you’ll still be able to see the circle beneath), then repeat with the dots of meringue mixture beneath each corner. (The meringue mixture acts as “glue” for adhering the parchment paper flat while the pavlova base is baking.)
Using a spatula, spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Using the circle as your guide, gently mold the pavlova mixture into the circular shape. The pavlova base will be piled fairly high within the circle; make small sweeps from the bottom to the top on all sides, then gently level the top out.
Place the pavlova base into the preheated oven on the center rack; bake for 1 1/2 hours, then turn the heat off and leave it in the oven, undisturbed, for at least two hours, or overnight. This resting step is very important for the success of your pavlova.
Once the base has rested and cooled, top with whipped cream and decorate with the frosty rosemary, berries and oranges, as desired.
HOW TO MAKE FROSTY ROSEMARY, BERRIES AND ORANGES
Beat one egg white with 1 Tbs. water. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush some of the egg white mixture over the rosemary sprigs, berries and orange slices; drag them through caster sugar that has been placed onto a large plate or into a shallow bowl; set aside on a sheet of parchment paper.
HOW TO MAKE CASTER SUGAR AT HOME
Place granulated sugar into the bowl of a food processor; process the sugar until the texture is very fine.