Because Wikipedia is the source of all answers to questions and a fountain of absolute truth (yes, I'm being vey tongue-in-cheek) here is the link to find all the answers you may have about pav's. Essentially, it is a big meringue, which is topped with whipped cream. In Australia we are inclined to whip our own....buying it pre-whipped is only just becoming something that is available to us. And it doesn't take but a moment to do. Pavlova's are topped with all manner of different things. Passionfruit, or strawberries, or grated chocolate or peppermint crisp. I've seen banana, although that doesn't appeal to me quite so much.
Pavlova is something that has a place in the hearts of my father's family. My Granny was always required to bring one to family gatherings and it would be devoured eagerly. Indeed she felt she wouldn't be allowed in the door unless she came bearing the pav! Of course, we would never consider buying a pre-made, store-bought one. It must be homemade, and I have my Granny's recipe, in her handwriting, in my recipe folder. It is something I treasure greatly. As a result of having a good recipe and a good oven, the pavlova-making mantle has been passed on to me.
An unusual twist for this quite traditional dessert is for the meringue itself to be chocolate. I gained this recipe initially from watching Maggie Beer on 'The Cook and the Chef'. It was also included in the 'Maggie's Kitchen' cookbook. I've made this recipe a number of times and it works beautifully. It tastes pretty darn good too, if you ask this purist.
You will find this gem of a recipe here. I have to say, mine looks just like the picture!
There are a few tips for making pavlova successfully, which I'm sure I've sure posted before, but will include it here so you (and I!) don't have to go searching:
- Make sure the bowl and beaters are absolutely and completely dry.
- Make sure there is NO egg yolk in your whites. This is one time when it pays to separate the egg and then add the white to the mixing bowl. You'll regret it if you separate the egg into the bowl if you break that yolk!
- Make sure the sugar has been completely dissolved before you stop mixing. If you take a little bit of mixture and rub it between your figures, you should no longer feel sugar grains.