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Everyone can enjoy mini pavlovas

Despite my fear of being called politically-correct/un-Australian, I feel ambivalent about Australia Day. Sometimes arts degrees make enjoying life more challenging.

Aside from all the political stuff, the thing that irritates me the most about Australia Day is the meaty emphasis. This is exemplified in the infamous Sam Kekovich lamb advertisements from Meat and Livestock Australia. Apparently, in order to be a ‘real’ Australian, you gotta eat lamb and be a bloke and play footy. I know those ads are satirical (and to hate them is to fall into their stereotyping trap!) but they still grate me. I can’t help it.

Anyway, so no lamb. What does that leave us to eat on Australia Day? Why, pavlova of course! An all-inclusive foodstuff; something that (almost) everyone can enjoy.

These are very simple to make. I just ‘whipped’ some up for dessert…

Ingredients:
3 egg whites
180g caster sugar (allow 60g sugar per egg white)
a few drops of vanilla essence/a tsp of vanilla paste/the inside of a vanilla pod
Ice cream or cream
8 passionfruits or some berries

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 130°C.
  • Separate eggs and begin to whip up those egg whites. Ensure that the bowl and beaters are perfectly clean and dry because this can affect the whipping of the whites.

Whipping with the retro mixer

  • When egg whites are almost at stiff-peaks (after a few minutes), begin adding the sugar with a teaspoon, continuing to beat. Add the sugar in slowly: teaspoon by teaspoon. This may be tedious but it seems to give failproof results. Many recipes warn not to overwork the egg whites, but I have never found this to be a particular problem. Add the vanilla at any stage.
  • Spoon or pipe meringue mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. I piped little ‘bowls’ using a zip-lock plastic bag with the corner snipped off. I also piped some normal meringues, which are in the picture below. Sadly, I had the oven up way too high and these ended up blackened.

This batch met an unfortunate end in a too-hot oven

  • Cook for about 45 minutes. I like to take them out straight away so that the insides stay soft. Some people like to leave them inside the oven to cool so that the insides go hard. Personal preference…

The meringue 'bowls'

  • If using cream, whip it up now. I used ordinary vanilla ice cream instead. Place a few spoonfuls of ice-cream or whipped cream in the meringe ‘bowls’. Spoon some passionfruit pulp over the top. I used half a passionfruit per meringue.
  • This makes about 16 mini pavlovas.

A classic and tasty combination. Perfect for Australia Day!

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