What to do when you have a freezer full of little zip-lock bags containing egg whites. I don’t know why it is I have so many egg whites but I do.
A few days ago we were invited to a friend’s house for some American hamburgers, (he’s from New York and he cooks a great burger). I said, ‘I’ll bring dessert’ and to even the score, I knew I’d have to make an Aussie classic. (This is also a Kiwi classic – I do not wish to offend my friends across the Tasman).
This is where a freezer full of zip-lock bags of egg whites comes in handy. Last night I pulled three bags from the freezer and by this morning the contents were nicely thawed out. With so many egg whites (one bag contained seven, the next three and the third, two) I knew one pavlova wouldn’t do – I had enough egg whites for three!
And so I made a triple-layer pavlova filled with a vanilla cream, fresh mango slices and a raspberry coulis. This dessert has some height but it’s a very light dessert so it’s not overwhelming and even after the biggest USA burger, you will have room for all three layers.
And this is a complete dessert; there’s no need to serve anything ‘on the side’. With the light-as-air layers sandwiched with vanilla cream and fresh fruit, you don’t need anything else. And this is a dessert that’s light on the wallet and as long as you have egg whites, sugar, whipping cream and something in your fruit bowl you’re good to go. I chose mangoes and raspberries as they’re in season right now but any combination of colourful fruits is fine, however, I personally think bananas are a tragedy on a pavlova, but that’s just me.
If you’re wanting to blend a USA favourite with an Aussie/Kiwi classic, you can’t go wrong with a triple-layer pavlova.
- 12 egg whites
- 3 cups castor (superfine) sugar
- 1½ tbs cornflour
- 3 tsp white vinegar
- 300g (10.5 oz) frozen raspberries
- 1 heaped tbs castor (superfine) sugar
- 1 heaped tsp cornflour
- 600ml (20 fluid ozs) pouring cream
- 2 vanilla beans, scraped
- 1 heaped tbs icing sugar
- 3 firm mangos, thinly sliced
- 1 punnet raspberries
- Pre-heat oven to 140C (280F).
- Line 3 baking trays with baking paper and draw 3 x 22cm circles on each sheet of paper. Turn paper over as no one wants to eat ink.
- In a large mixing bowl (I use a Kitchen-Aid), beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, a quarter of a cup at a time. Continue beating until sugar is dissolved and meringue is thick and glossy. Beat in cornflour and white vinegar.
- Divide meringue between the trays and try to ensure the circles of meringue are an even height across the circle.
- Place in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Turn off oven. Keep oven door closed and allow to cool over the next few hours.
- Remove pavlovas from the oven and begin assembling the dessert.
- For the Coulis:
- Place frozen raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Strain raspberries and discard the seeds. Return coulis to the saucepan and heat over a low temperature. Combine cornflour with a little water and stir to make a smooth paste. Add to coulis and stir over heat until coulis thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- For the Vanilla Cream:
- Whip cream in a clean, dry bowl with icing sugar and vanilla beans until stiff peaks form - watch you don't over whip; it can happen in a flash!
- For the Assembly:
- Place one of the pavlovas onto a serving platter. Cover the top with ⅓ of the cream, drizzle with ½ the coulis and ⅓ of sliced mangos. Repeat with the next layer. For the top layer, cover with remaining cream and remaining mango slices then decorate with fresh raspberries.
- Keep in fridge until ready to serve.
- Best eaten within in a few hours of preparation.
And don’t worry about trying to make your pavlova look neat and tidy – good pavlovas are always best with that handmade look – the worst pavlovas are the neat little rounds you find on the shelves of the supermarket – you may as well chew on a sugar-cube. So have a go at making a pavlova layer cake; it’s not that difficult but it will put some Aussie/Kiwi blood in your veins.