Light and crunchy with a gooy centre. Tart. Sweet and fresh. These are all the things that describe the perfect summer pavlova. It's dead simple to make, but you'll have to start early, since the pavlova needs at least six hours to cool properly. And you can't rush it, or it simply won't be as good.
I got the recipe for the pavlova from a dear friend's mother. Their family swear by it, and I too am now one of the converted.
This is a good time to mention that there is one BIG difference between meringue and pavlova - Maringue is baked all the way through, while pavlova is crunchy on the outside but oh-so-goooy on the inside. Some people also insist that a pavlova has more ingredients than egg whites and sugar, but you can get pretty close if you just bake a maringue mix the way a pavlova should be baked - high heat for a short time, and then very low heat for a long time.
4 large Eggs, separated
3/4 cups Castor sugar
1 teaspoon Lemon juice
1 teaspoon Rose water
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Champagne
5-10 Fresh Figs
1 Cinnamon stick
Fresh fruit, like figs, raspberries, and pomegranate seeds
1 cup Fresh whipping cream
- Switch on oven at 200 degrees Celcius. Line a baking sheet with foil, shiny side down. Rub the surface lightly with butter, or spray with a non-stick product.
- Seperate the egg whites from the yolks, one at a time.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (at this point you'll be able to -carefully- turn over your mixing bowl and low and behold the egg whites will stay put.
- Beat in the sugar, adding one quarter at a time. You'll notice that the mixture becomes glossy and smooth.
- Add lemon juice and incorporate.
- Add rosewater and incorporate.
- Add vanilla and fold it through the mixture, making sure the seeds are evenly spread.
- Using large spoons, scoop big dollops of the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet, to form a large circle or reath. Each dollop should be touching the dollop next to it. When the Pavlova bakes, these dollops will fuse to form an intact (but fragile) circle.
- Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven, turn it down to 100 degrees Celsius and bake for one and a half hours. Without opening the oven, switch it off and let the pavlova wreath cool inside for at least 2-3 hours before removing and letting it cool to room temperature.
- In a small to medium pot, add the sugar and champagne. Bring to a boil, while stirring to let the sugar dissolve.
- Once the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has reached boiling point, turn down the heat until only small bubbles are appearing. Add a cinnamon stick and the fresh figs, quartered.
- Let the mixture boil (remember, small little bubbles) until it starts to thicken and the figs become soft. Mush the figs to help it release its goodness and flavour.
- Let the mixture boil until it becomes thick and syrupy. It will reduce quite a bit.
- Once the mixture has reached the preferred consistency, remove from the heat and let it steep for 5 minutes. Using a small sieve, scoop out the fleshy bits of fig, some of the pips, and the cinnamon stick. Add the walnuts.
- Let it cool to room temprature before pouring it into a sealable jar, where it will keep for at least a week.
- Once the pavlova and syrup has cooled to room temperature, you can start decorating the pavlova wreath.
- Whip the cream and sugar until peaks form, taking care not to over whip or the cream will separate (great for making butter, not so much for what we're trying to do here).
- Spread the whipped cream on top of the pavlova. Decorate with fresh fruit. Drizzle with the fig & walnut champagne syrup.
NOTE - We used The Cooksister's cranberry and pecan nut drizzle in the photo shoot (as seen on our Instagram), but this recipe's syrup is just as DIVINE. Syrups are easy to make, but if you're in a rush, an artisan syrup from your deli will work just as well.
Frederika & Michelle