Wednesday 9 January 2013

Happy Birthday 2013 and My First Pavlova

{fireworks bringing in the new year at corogold 2012/2013}

Happy New Year everyone and a big Happy Birthday to 2013!
(Seriously, did anyone else keep finding themselves accidentally texting "Happy Birthday" instead of "Happy New Year"?? So easy to do no???)

We've just come back from the epic eat-a-thon that was Christmas and a rowdy sunshine and gumboot filled New Years.  Aaaaaaand straight back to work. 

{how new zealand does christmas}
But during our break, I did get time to do some musing whilst lazing around in the sun: how would one sum up the year that was 2012?  The year the world didn't quite end.  A year of big changes: moving city, getting to live with husband again, having two new Hospices to our Baking for Hospice run and adding a new nephew to the clan.  And year of big sadness too, for far too many awesome people I know and also for people a world away.  A year of saying bye to good friends, saying hi again to old friends and making brand new ones.  A tornadoey Hobbity kinda year.

And, as it turned out, it was a year of Pavlovas.  Of this particular Pavlova Stack with Lemon Curd, Strawberries, and Mint to be precise. 

In 2012, I went from never having made a pavlova before, to making two in just as many weeks.  I turned into a bit of a meringue-utan

This Pavlova stack was made for my mother-in-law's birthday party.  We have a relative who's gluten-free so I really wanted to make something that she could enjoy too.  And it turned out so well that I ended up making another Pavlova for Christmas Eve dinner as well.  With it's Tower of Babel-esque stature, happy vibrant colours and ethereal airiness, it really was a most spectacular summertime treat.

{all tangy sunshine and sweet bubbles in your mouth}
The stack structure turned out to be a cunning ploy to fool-proof my first go at Pavlovas: you see, even if the Pavs don't rise so well, you just layer on the lemon curd, whipped cream, and strawberries and no one's the wiser.  Mwa ha ha.

{glossy meringue gorgeousness}
Although it was far from the perfect Pavlova (a little more height would've been awesome), it was fluffy and pillowy and still looked pretty even after a plane trip up to Auckland!  And when combined with the tangy lemon curd, juicy summer strawberries, and fresh zesty mint, you have all the best tastes of summer in a glorious marshmallowy tower.  An outrageously delicious marshmallowy tower.

And that's not even mentioning the lashings of whipped cream...

{doesn't get more kiwi than this}

Pavlova Stack with Lemon Curd, Strawberries and Mint

Tweaked from Cafe Johnsonia

3/4 cup of egg whites (5-6 large eggs)
pinch of cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cornflour
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 130oC and line two cookie trays with baking paper.  Draw a 22cm diameter circle on each piece of baking paper.

2. In a bowl whisk the sugar and cornflour together, making sure you get rid of all the lumps.  In a separate and extremely clean metal, porcelain, or glass mixing bowl (not plastic), beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft droopy peaks form when you lift the beaters out of the meringue mixture.

{soft peaks}
3. Gradually add the sugar/cornflour mixture a Tablespoon at a time until the mixture gets glossy, shiny and thick and you can't feel granules of sugar between your fingers.  This should take at least 10 minutes. I used a hand held beater for this and it turned out great but did mean I had to stand over the bowl for like 20 minutes so a stand mixer would def make the whole process less taxing!

4.  Beat in vanilla and vinegar till well combined.  Spoon meringue mixture on to the circle you drew on the baking paper and make little peaks and swirls with your spoon to make it pretty.  Bake at 130oC for an hour - don't open the door while it's baking or you'll get Pavlova pancakes!  Turn off your oven, wedge a wooden spoon in the door to keep it ajar and let the Pavlova cool in the oven until completely cool.  You can store the Pavlova layers in an airtight container at room temperature for around 3 days (don't put them in the fridge otherwise they will weep).

Strawberries and Mint
400g strawberries
2 teaspoons white sugar
Handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped

1. About 20 minutes before serving, cut the green tops off the strawberries and quarter.  In a bowl mix the strawberries, sugar and chopped mint and allow to sit for 20 minutes.  Give it a good mix before you layer on the Pav.

Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 cup (250mL) cream
3 Tablespoons icing sugar (to taste)

1. Beat the cream with icing sugar until soft peaks.  Keep in the refrigerator until serving.

To Assemble:
1 jar lemon curd (homemade or store bought - I was lazy and just used store bought)
Extra mint, roughly chopped
2 Pavlova layers
Sweetened whipped cream

1.  Start with your least good looking layer at the bottom.  Spoon over lemon curd in dollops, smearing to get a roughly even spread.  Next, scoop half the cream on top and arrange just under half the strawberries on top of the cream in an even layer.   Place the second more majestic layer on top and repeat with the lemon curd, then cream then pile on the rest of the strawberries and sprinkle over the extra mint.  Serve immediately.


  1. i've never made a pav either !! its on my to do list this year, i've been thinking a strawberry + pitstachio one would be nice.... love the tip on stacking .... tres clever x

    happy new year :)

  2. Pav by plane? That's so glamourous. I'm so glad you posted this as I have pav on my to do list this summer too. I'm not a baker by any means, but I baked my first carrot cake this week so my first pav is hopefully on the cards soon. What are you doing with all your yolks?

  3. an awesome looking pav! what a stunner. the lemon curd is an inspired idea.
    happy new year to you too!

  4. Yum!! I love that you combined strawberries with both lemon curd AND mint. Brilliant!

  5. Wow. It's looks gorgeous. meringue-utan. So funny.



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