How do you zero in on a dessert recipe? I basically look at the amount of butter, sugar, and flour that a recipe calls for and usually pick the one that has the least amount of these ingredients. The idea of putting in a lot of sugar, butter, and maida into anything scares me quite a bit. My cousins were coming over lunch and on given a choice between chocolate and mango opted for a mango based dessert. Pavlova was on my list of things for a long time. I decided to make a pavlova topped with mangoes.
I looked through Nigella’s Kitchen and came across a recipe for Mini Pavlovas that required 6 egg whites, which I felt was excessive. I then came across another recipe by her on you tube which required only 4 whites. Big difference! Anyway, you will be amused to know that I had to crack 8 eggs to get 4 egg whites. I am going to blame it on the Delhi summer. It was so hot that the yolks just melted into the whites. Thankfully, I had some eggs sitting in the fridge. I used those and managed to separate the eggs. Now, I was left with 4 eggs and 4 yolks! When life hands you a lemon you make lemonade. But, what do you do with 4 eggs and 4 yolks? Googled my quandary and found that I could make Gordon Ramsay’s Chocolate Fondant. Will share that in another post.
Coming back to the Pavolva – I realise that watching the pavolva being made is far more useful than just reading the recipe. I also found that there are so many tips that are shared on the tube, which simply do not appear in print. For instance, Nigella said that we must start by wiping the inside of the bowl in which you are going to whip the whites with lemon. It helps get rid of grease and makes the white “sparkly”. Also, the vinegar and cornflour are what make the pavlova chewy and marshmallowy on the inside. Here’s the recipe:
4 egg whites
4 tbsps of sugar for each egg white [I know this is a lot!]
1 tsp of vinegar
2 tsps of cornflour
3 Alphonso mangoes or any other fruit
1. Preheat the oven at 180C.
2. Wipe the inside of the whisking bowl with lemon. Then add the egg whites and whisk till firm, but not stiff peaks are formed. This takes a while. You have to watch carefully to ensure that the peaks are smooth and not stiff.
3. Add a tbsp of sugar at a time and whisk gently.
4. Once all the sugar has been whisked in, add the vinegar and the cornflour and fold them under and over. Do not whisk.
5. Draw a circle (20cm diameter) with the help of a plate on a butter paper. Pour the batter on the paper and use a spatula to smoothen the sides.
6. Put the pavlova into an oven that has been preheated at 180C and then crank it down to 150C and bake for 1 hour. Let it cool in the oven for 30 minutes before taking it out. You can leave the oven door ajar.
Though it looked messy, the pavlova was crisp, chewy, and marshmallowy and went well with the mangoes. I am going to give this a shot again and pray that the whipped cream doesn’t let me down.
By the way, see what my cousins gifted me – planning to make savoury muffins and cupcakes to adorn this beauty: