Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Everyone knows it's not Christmas without a pavlova.  But what's the best recipe?  I was under the impression there really was only one; the Edmond's Cook Book (30th ed) recipe:

3 egg whites
3 Tblsp cold water
1 c caster sugar
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 tsp cornflour
Beat egg whites until stiff, add cold water and beat again.  Add caster sugar very gradually while still beating.  Slow beater and add vinegar, vanilla, and cornflour.  Place on greased paper on a greased trayand bake at 150C (300 F) for 45 minutes, then leave to cool in the oven.

BUT, on Campbell Live last night, they showed the judging of a pavlova competition (noone asked me if I wanted to enter, where was this advertised?!) and the winning recipe was begrudgingly released to the media.  This is what the Campbell Live website said:

Heather Hamilton from St John’s, Auckland, is the proud winner of the second annual Nosh Pavlova Competition.

She has been using this pavlova recipe for over 40 years - her tried and true and family-famous recipe that she swears by – with a few crucial tips to ensure success!
350g egg whites (approx. 8-9 eggs depending on size)
35g hot water
400g-450g sugar – depending on the weather
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp vanilla

• Put egg whites in bowl and add hot water
• Begin beating, gradually adding sugar while beating
• Add vinegar and vanilla towards the end of the sugar, and finish beating in the remaining sugar
• Ensure mixture is thoroughly whisked before piling onto oven tray
• Bake at between 160-180 – depending on your over

Heather’s success secrets:
• Sugar quantity is subjective – I use less sugar in my pav which makes it marshmallowier, however you won’t get a very crusty edge which some people prefer
• Know your oven – every oven is different and you have to adapt to your oven to make a pav work. If the pav starts ballooning it means the oven is too hot – and what goes up must come down!
• Avoid cooking pavlova when humid
• It’s best to beat the egg whites when at room temperature – which is why the hot water helps

I chose to reproduce the article here because as the Campbell Live site is not a cooking site, I don't know how long this will be up.  I'm not too trusting in their archiving procedures.

Nigella has a couple of pavlova recipes, here, here, and here, as well as a 'toffee pavlova cake'.

Food in a Minute has one too.  An Australian recipe in the comments of Chocolate and Zucchini, here.  Foodlovers.co.nz has a few here too.  Even epicurious has 13, and Martha has more than 10!

Most of the differences between these pavlova recipes seem to be in either the topping (traditional cream, kiwi fruit, strawberry, and passionfruit, or exotic pomegranate, topped with white chocolate, or maple caramelised plums), or in an effort to flavour the pavlova itself (like with cocoa to make it chocolate), however, there do seem to be a few small variations in the ratios, and some substitutions in the ingredients.  I guess it's all about experimenting to find the one you like.

However, I know which one I like best already without even trying the rest - my Mum's!

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