In our small mining town, we have a group of ladies who meet every Friday over coffee, drinks, tea and some cake, and cookies. It is a pretty eclectic group and had been my biggest support system in the US. For a short while we had an Australian in this group as well. I am sure I had tasted pavlova before, but it was the first time at her coffee that I truly started appreciating this meringue based dessert. She had made a traditional pavlova with strawberries and whipped cream and it was every bit lovely.
Ever since then I have wanted to try to make it at home, but somehow haven’t been able to. I have made something similar earlier (a msacarpone meringue layer cake) as well which was absolutely delicious, but that’s about how close I got to making a pavlova.
Even though an Australian/New Zealand dessert, it is named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, when it was made in her honor, probably during one of her visits to these countries.
For the most part Pavlova is an easy to make dish. Only tricky part is the low temperature long baking and of course the whipping of the egg whites.
Here are a few tricks and tips that I keep in mind whenever I whip egg whites:
- Whenever you whip egg whites remember fat and water are the enemies. So make sure all utensils, tools that come in contact with the egg whites are grease free. Wipe your beaters, bowls completely dry. It always helps to take a paper towel soaked in a little vinegar and wiping your bowls and utensils with it to be doubly sure that it is grease free.
- When you separate the eggs make sure no part of the yolk is in it. Separating cold eggs is easier than room temperature eggs. I always try to separate eggs the moment I take them from the refrigerator and then let them sit on the counter, covered, to come to room temperature. Always whip room temperature egg whites.
- When separating more than one egg I recommend to keep 3 containers/bowls in front of you. Break the egg, separate the white and the yolk in two different bowls. And then transfer the clean, yolk-free white in the third bowl. Repeat process. This helps in cases where you screw up with one egg, and land a part of the yolk in the egg white while separating, you do not spoil the other separated egg whites.