THE CHRISTMAS PAVLOVA
I have fond memories of all the Christmas’s I spent in Canada. Lots of snow, log fires, all the houses in town lit up with Christmas lights, turkey dinners, Christmas pudding with caramel sauce, baking Christmas cookies, mistletoe, mince pies, stockings hung from the mantelpiece. The list goes on.
It’s in stark contrast to the Christmas’s I now spend in Australia where it’s the middle of summer. And with the warm weather the activities tend to vary also. Such as Carols by Candlelight held in parks and gardens of most cities and towns.
There is a huge Christmas pageant in Adelaide when Father Christmas officially arrives in the city.
Boxing Day is the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and the Melbourne Boxing Day Test Match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The Christmas menu can also vary from those wanting a traditional turkey or roast dinner to a variety of other dishes more suited to a hot day.
This might include a pavlova for desert. Now, there is contention as to whether this recipe was invented by an Australian or a New Zealand chef in honour of Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballerina. She visited both Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The Pavlova became a traditional dessert in both countries for celebratory occasions.
For those of you who live far from Australia, I thought I would share this recipe with you. (It looks delicious, doesn’t it? And it is.)
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
pinch cream of tartar (see note)
1 1/4 cup thickened cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar mixture
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries, sliced
Preheat oven to 120°Celcius/100°Celcius fan-forced.
or - 248 degrees Fahrenheit/212F fan-forced.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Mark a 23cm circle on the paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add caster sugar. Beat for 10 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Add cream of tartar. Beat for 1 minute. Spoon mixture onto circle. Using a palette knife or spatula, shape into a circle with high sides. Make 'furrows' up the sides.
Bake for 1 hour or until firm. Turn off oven. Allow to cool in oven with door slightly ajar.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream, icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Place pavlova on a serving plate. Top with cream mixture and fruit. Serve.