Rustic Pavlova Cake

Crispy meringue with soft marshmallow

Crispy meringue outside, light soft marshmallow inside, topped with cream and fruit. This recipe is a rustic version, nothing fancy, simple to make and delicious. Originally named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, in honour of the dance during her tour in Australia. Some say it could also be New Zealand but it is similar to a cream cake that dates back to the early 1900’s in Australia. For me, it’s always been an Aussie cake that’s usually served a lot around Christmas time.

This recipe is a no-fuss recipe for that appetising rustic look. You could of course make it into a fancy cake shape if you prefer. For me personally, the meringue cracks and texture makes it better. I like the meringue to caramelise a little, so it’s light brown in colour. It has a nicer taste. If you prefer pure white meringue, you’ll need a lower oven temperature and longer drying time. For the fruit, same deal, you could arrange it like a fancy cake or an assortment of berries placed on top. Use the fruit you like, there are no rules. But don’t go for very sweet fruits as the pavlova is already sweet. To compensate, I never add sugar to the cream, I think it makes it far too sweet.

So, if you have a sweet tooth and enjoy meringue, marshmallow, cream, and fruit, what are you waiting for? Start whisking those whites.

Ingredients

For the meringue

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup – 225g caster (super fine sugar)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour or corn-starch
  • ¾ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. Lemon juice for cleaning the bowl

For the assembly

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2-3 ripe passion fruits
  • 2 cups strawberries, kiwi fruit and/or other berries

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 270°F – 130°C (fan).
  2. Using a pencil, mark out the circumference of roughly a dinner plate size on the undersize of the parchment paper unless you’re good freehand.
  3. Using an electric stand or hand mixer, whisk the egg whites first on low speed, then once the whites are foamy increase the speed and slowly pour in the sugar while whisking, approx. one tablespoon each 15 seconds. There should be no sugar grit if you rub some mixture between your fingers. Once sugar has all been added, add the pinch of salt and vanilla extract. Whisk another 15 seconds. Finish by folding by hand the cornflour. The whites should hold a firm peak when beaters are lifted.
  4. Using a large spoon, dollop the entire meringue mixture in the centre of the drawn circle, spread using a spatula into a circular base. Create a slight crater in the centre. The sides should be slightly higher than the middle so not too much. Don’t make it smooth, you want texture, this is rustic. Upward strokes are common but get creative!
  5. Bake the pavlova for about 60 – 80 minutes at 270°F – 130°C (fan). Once cooked, turn off the oven and leave to cool in the oven approximately one to two hours.
  6. For the assembly, whip the cream to a soft.
  7. Gently lift the meringue onto your serving plate.
    Spoon the whipped cream over top, spreading it, but not quite to the edges. Arrange the fruit on top and scoop passion fruit pulp over fruit. Enjoy!

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