This certainly brings back memories, this was a dessert that my mother used to make quite often when I was little, especially when friend or family came round for a meal. The meringue can be made in advance and stored and put together an hour or so beforehand.
The oven was put on to preheat at quite a low temperature (140°C). A sheet of baking parchment was put onto a baking tray and using the base from my 23cm (9″) tin a circle was drawn onto the parchment.
Rather than use 4 eggs and try and think of a use for the egg yolks I had purchased this week some Two Chicks Egg Whites which I’ve used many times before and absolutely love them. As I only now have two of my own chickens left laying eggs for me, I only get about a dozen eggs a week, which isn’t very many when you bake as often as I do or like to. So the eggs from my chickens are very precious at the moment – hopefully soon I will be adding another two chickens to my ‘flock’. One of my chickens is 6 years old now, but she still lays 6 eggs a week from February through to November (unless she goes broody), the other one is only a year behind her and she too lays 6 eggs a week.
Anyway, enough about my chickens. Into a bowl went 4 large egg whites (or in my case 120ml of egg whites – each egg white weighs about 30ml or equivalent to 2 tbsp. These were whisked together with my electric hand whisk until they were ‘stiff and cloud-like’ – Mary’s words, not mine! The next stage is the part which seemed to take an age, 225g caster sugar was added to the egg whites, but not all at once, it has to be added a teaspoon at a time and whisked in after each addition. Once all the sugar had been added in a small bowl I blended together 2 level tsp cornflour with 2 tsp white wine vinegar. This was whisked into the meringue mixture.
The meringue was spread out onto the parchment, covering the circle. I did the edges first and then spooned a small amount of meringue into the middle to cover the parchment. The rest of the meringue was used to build the sides up so that they were higher than the middle. Into the oven the meringue went and the oven was immediately turned down to Fan 130°C.
After an hour I checked on the meringue and was pleased to see that it was firm to the touch and beginning to go a very pale beige colour. Instead of removing it from the oven, meringues have to be left in the oven until it is cold. Mary says to keep the door closed if you want to encourage a more marshmallowy meringue – I did, so the oven was turned off and the door shut.
Once the meringue has cooled, it was removed from the parchment and put onto a serving plate. The topping was simply, 300ml double cream was lightly whipped together and spooned onto the top. Approximately 350g strawberries were halved and put over the top of the cream. Before cutting in to it, however, it has to be chilled in the fridge for an hour!
That was a long hour… it was a delicious dessert, the pavolva was lovely and crunchy on the outside with a marshmallow texture to the inside. The strawberries and cream finished it off. A big hit with all the family!