Regular readers might remember that I’ve written before about how impressed I have been with my KitchenAid® 30-Inch Freestanding Electric Range with Even-Heat™ Technology and Warming Drawer. While the initial decision of “which oven to choose?” really made me think about the features I appreciate in an oven, after a few months’ use, I realised that, in fact, my new, very accurate, even-heat oven is actually making me a better baker because I am no longer using the excuse of “the oven” when things don’t go quite to plan – I’m actually really thinking long and hard about the baking process to try to work out how to bake better.
The great thing about the truly even heat in the oven is that I can now contemplate baking desserts that I had previously shied away from, citing “the oven” as the reason I wouldn’t try them (or the reason they didn’t work!). Like pavlovas. I’ve made them before (using Nigella’s recipe) but wasn’t completely satisfied with how they turned out. They were a little too crispy – the inside is supposed to be marshmallowy, like this:
With my new oven in place, I had no problems contemplating making pavlovas again and in fact, made them about 6 times over the course of the last month of school.
* Hundreds and thousands image from Shutterstock
No, not “sprinkles” – we Australians call them 100s and 1000s
I made these individual size (it made 7 but depending on how big you pipe or dollop the mixture, it could make a lot more, tiny ones) and they are wonderful to have on hand. They keep for a few days in an airtight container (NOT in the fridge) so you could even make a double batch to have an easy summer dessert with very little fuss. Once you have the technique down for making the meringue, they are easy – they bake for about 30 minutes (an hour for a full-sized one) and then you turn off the oven and leave them to cool (IN the oven) so the actual hands-on time is very minimal.
- 100g egg whites
- 100g granulated sugar
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- To serve: whipped cream, hundreds and thousands and berries
- Pre-heat oven to 250˚F.
- Use the whisk attachment of a KitchenAid stand mixer to start whipping the egg whites on medium speed (KitchenAid 6)
- Slowly add about ½ the sugar.
- Once the sugar is completely incorporated, gradually increase speed to high.
- Continue to add the remaining sugar.
- When all the sugar is completely incorporated, add the icing sugar and whisk at high speed until the whites form a glossy stiff meringue.
- Lightly mix in vinegar - a couple of turns of the mixer at low speed (KitchenAid 2) should do it.
- Use a rubber spatula to gently incorporate the cornstarch.
- Place the mixture in a heap on a baking tray lined with parchment or a Silpat.
- Cook for 30 (individual) to 60 (large size) minutes.
- After the time is up, turn off the oven and allow the pavlova to cool inside the oven.
- To serve, top the pavlova (it might be cracked on top but that's ok!) with whipped cream, sprinkle the hundreds and thousands over the cream and scatter the berries on top.
Want to see another Aussie classic dessert? I wrote about lamingtons over on Jamie Oliver’s site for the #FoodieWorldCup. Check out my article here.
Canadian readers: Win TWO Dorling Kindersley cookbooks for kids! Closes Sunday July 6th 2014 6pm EST. Details here.