It’s totally unsurprising that a pavlova is such a popular summertime dessert… it’s the perfect vehicle for the best of the summer harvest… yay berries!… but weirdly it has a reputation for being a tricky pudding to make. Weirdly, because it’s not supposed to look beautiful… or be especially uniform… if you just use good ingredients, and follow some pretty straightforward instructions… you know it’ll taste great!
Below are our five top tips for a ‘perfect’ pavlova:
- Use fresh eggs. We’re not saying this to make you race out and buy our eggs – there is actual science that says fresh eggs are best. Although eggs have a relatively long shelf-life, the proteins in the egg white start off in tight little clusters but over time the proteins change and start to repel each other rather than wanting to stick together. So when you want the egg white proteins to hang on to each other around little bubbles of air… stick to fresh eggs!
- Keep your eggs in the fridge and whip them when they’re cold. The cold temps help the proteins stay rigid and stable – which is what you want. When the eggs are whipped at room temperature you’ll see bigger air bubbles and a foamier mixture, which gives the illusion of foaming up faster… but when you let it sit for a few minutes you’ll see it start to collapse and become runny.
- Use clean equipment. Dirty beaters or bowls… especially if there is grease or fat hanging around… will mean bad things for your pav. Give everything a wash with hot soapy water before you start.
- Beat the meringue for longer than you think you need to. There are stiff peaks and stiff peaks. Our rule of thumb is that the pointy bit stands straight up in the air when you lift the beater straight up AND the sugar is dissolved in the mixture (so you don’t taste gritty bits).
- Humidity = misery. Kiwi summers have a bit of a reputation for being insanely humid. And humidity is not kind to our beloved pavlova. If it’s looking like it’s going to be a hot wet Christmas Day, you might be better to consider making drier meringue disks and layering them with cream and fruit… otherwise you may find your pav erupting with little beads of liquid sugar as soon as you take it out of the oven. There are plenty of other days you can, and should, make pavlova during the year!