Granny's Pavlova (which Derv enjoys)Contributed by Alex Cooksey
The legend: Alex’s granny was traveling in Australia when she met the chef who invented the Pavlova for the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova. She in the Cooksey family fashion managed to extract the recipe from him and this is it with some minor perfecting features developed by Alex over the years, he has cooked over a thousand of these so he knows his Pav!
- 6 egg whites
- 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of water
- I cup caster sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 pint whipping cream
- Raspberries and/or strawberries
- A glass or two of wine
- Put some baking parchment on a baking tray (if you don't have any grease the tray with butter but parchment is much more convenient).
- Turn your oven to 150C.
- Add the egg whites, water and lemon juice to a big mixing bowl.
- Use a hand beater (though I've managed this with a whisk - very tiring) or a food processor and beat the mixture.
- After a few seconds it'll become frothy, and you can start pouring in the granulated sugar, in a trickle - too fast and it'll just sit at the bottom of the bowl. Keep beating and trickling in sugar and then add the caster sugar in the same way (the granulated builds the body of the pav, the caster builds the mousse).
- Once you've added all the sugar you should have a big shiny white mound of sticky goodness. Lift the beaters and if the mixture doesn't fall off it's ready other wise keep beating. If, after 10 mins of beating it's still runny, you either had yolk in your eggs or a dirty mixing bowl – either way you're best off chucking it all away and starting again (so far it's a pretty cheap pudding...) Essentially you want it to more or less hold onto the beaters/a fork, of course it will fall off - you want it to gloop rather than pour.
- Make a steep heap of pavlova mixture on the baking parchment. If it looks smooth run a fork over it to make ripples in the texture (these will become crunch later - so the more the merrier). Put the mixing bowl and beaters straight into water even if you don't plan on washing up straight away - it gets very sticky.
- Bung it in the oven at 150c for about 30 mins and then turn the temperature down to 75c for another 45 mins.
- Every oven varies but Pavlova is quite forgiving. You won't get perfect pav until you've cooked it 3 times in any given oven. Essentially cook it
- at 150ish until it's pretty crunchy on the outside but turn it down if it starts going golden. Pav should be fairly white. Once the outside shell is nice and crispy turn it down.
- Once it's done take it out and let it cool. It will fall a bit but you should still have a healthy 2-3 inches of white fluffiness in the middle.
- (If you're not using the oven any more turn it off and leave the pav in the oven to cool - it won't fall quite so much - but this isn't crucial. However a new twist is to make the pav just before going to bed, and leaving it in over night. You get a good level of fluffiness and a crisper shell.)
- Whip the cream (adding a dash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of caster sugar make a great difference here) until it has peaks but before it turns really stiff.
- Once the pav is cool (otherwise the cream will melt and go everywhere) turn it upside down onto the plate you intend to serve it on. This takes guts and preferably two people. It's best done quickly and the person holding the baking tray should try not to squash the pav in the process.
- Gently peel off the parchment (this is where a greased tray isn't as good) remembering to try some of the crunchy bit to make sure it isn't poisoned.
- Slather the cream over the top with a spatula.
- Arrange the raspberries / strawberries in a pattern appealing to you in the cream. I do concentric circles or raspberries with strawberries in the middle, a friend of mine likes a pile of sliced strawberries dusted with icing sugar.
- Keep in a cool place and serve to a delighted party. A pav will serve 6-8 people depending on how hungry they are.
- Keep any leftovers in the fridge and eat for breakfast - yum.