Dee Mahoney found this recipe in a reader’s letter to a women’s magazine back when she was 11 or 12 years old growing up in Brisbane, Australia. She made the ‘Foolproof Pavlova’ every single Sunday for years. It was a family favourite at dinner at her grandfather’s place. Dee was rather glad to have a break from that regular pavlova making when she left home. However, many years later when her husband discovered this family legend he wanted to try that pavlova. It’s now a firm favourite with her own family, not to mention her friends.
Dee has honed the original recipe to make it her own. It’s a classic and it really is foolproof – just don’t open the oven!
For those of you reading this outside Australia, pavlova is considered a national dish here and in New Zealand. It’s usually thought of as a summer dessert but I love Dee’s suggestion that in winter you could just as easily use finely grated chocolate instead of the strawberries and passionfruit. (I’d also like to note that I made this pav successfully using an electric hand mixer – don’t ask why – though it took me about 15 minutes of mixing.)
- 3 cups caster sugar
- 4 egg whites - eggs should be at room temperature
- 160ml boiling water
- Two pinches of salt
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- To decorate: 300ml-600ml thickened cream, whipped - depends how much cream you like – and fruit
- Place all the ingredients, apart from the cream and fruit, in the big bowl of an electric mixer and beat until stiff peaks form (about 10 minutes).
- Pile onto a pizza tray or pavlova plate.
- Bake at 190C for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 140C and bake for a further 45 minutes.
- DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN AT ANY STAGE!!!
- Allow to cool in the oven, for 2-3 hours if possible. Don’t open the oven till you take the pavlova out to decorate.
- Pile with whipped cream and seasonal fruit. An alternative in winter is to use frozen berries or simply top with finely grated chocolate.