On the menu: Foaming at the mouth

WHETHER you are thinking green and gold or red, white and blue for tomorrow’s celebrations, pavlova and meringues are a must on the menu.

Fire up the barbie, grill corn on the cob, eggplant, capsicum, and tomatoes and perhaps some meat skewers and prawns, then finish with one of these very Australian recipes.

The origins of pavlova are not clear, but it is certain that it was named after the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who visited both Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The light and airy dessert is extremely popular in both countries and claimed as the national dessert.

For best results, use very fresh eggs which are easier to separate cold, straight out of the fridge, but then leave the whites to come to room temperature before beating and they will whip up to a much greater volume.

If eggs are fresh they should sink to the bottom in a bowl of cold water. If they float to the top it means they are stale and are best thrown out. Fresh eggs should have a cloudy white that is thick, whites thin out as they age.

Buy refrigerated eggs where ever possible as eggs at room temperature loose as much condition in a day as eggs stored for four days in the fridge. Keep them in the carton as eggs absorb other odours readily. It is also important to use a very clean bowl to whisk the egg whites. If it has a tiny amount of yolk or shell the eggs wont whip up to a great volume. For this reason it is not suitable to use a salad or wooden bowl to make pavlovas and meringues as it may contain traces of oil.

Pistachio pavlova with raspberries, strawberries and blueberries


5 large egg whites

Pinch of salt

330g castor sugar

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp corn flour

300ml pouring cream, whipped

1 punnet raspberries

1 punnet strawberries, halved

1 punnet blueberries

100g chopped toasted pistachios


❏Heat oven to 120°. Line a baking tray with foil, mark a 23cm circle onto the foil and lightly grease the circle.

❏Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, then gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thick and glossy, then whisk in vinegar, vanilla and corn flour.

❏Spread two thirds of mixture evenly over the circle. Spoon remaining meringue around the edge of pavlova, forming a rim. Reduce oven temperature to 100° and bake for 60minutes. Turn off oven and leave pavlova in the oven to cool.

❏To serve, spread whipped cream over the pavlova. Top with berries and sprinkle with pistachios. Serves 8.

Tiny meringues with passionfruit sauce and kiwifruit


2 large egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

cup castor sugar

½ tsp white wine vinegar

½ tsp vanilla extract

Passionfruit sauce

125g butter, chopped

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

4-5 tbs passionfruit juice

150g castor sugar

300ml pouring cream, whipped

6 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced


❏Heat oven to 120°. For meringues, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add cup castor sugar beating well after each addition. Fold in vinegar and vanilla.

❏Spoon 6 oval-shaped mounds of meringue onto a paper-lined oven tray. Reduce temperature to 100° and bake meringues for 50-60 minutes. Turn heat off and leave meringues to cool in oven.

❏For sauce, place butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and when melted, add eggs, egg yolks, passionfruit juice and castor sugar and stir constantly over low heat until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Cool.

❏To serve, top meringues with whipped cream and passionfruit sauce and serve with kiwifruit. Makes 6

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