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Perfect Pavlova

Pavlova is an absolutely fantastic dessert to serve when you've got fresh in-season strawberries - kiwi is of course is traditional as this dessert originated in New Zealand. I make it every Easter for our family.

A perfect pavlova starts with a par-cooked meringue base - which is the only tricky part to making this easy and elegant dessert, but with a few hints and perhaps a couple of trials you can achieve perdition!

For the merangue base:

6 egg whites - beaten to stiff glossy peaks

2 Tbs corn startch - really key to maintaining the soft par cooked interior and crunchy exterior.

6 Tbs white sugar added slowly to whites

1 tbs lemon juice.

Note: use room temperature eggs. Do not let any yolk fall into the whites or the merengue won't work!

Beat the egg whites on med to start with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes before slowly adding all the other ingredients, and increasing the mixer speed to high for the last part. Continue beating for 5 - 6 minutes until the whites are totally stiff and glossy.

Turn onto a cool baking tray lined with parchment paper using a rubber spatula - in any shape, round or a heart is cute, create a shallower interior and higher sides around 8 inches in diameter around 4 inches high at the highest point on the sides, and 2,5 inches at the center.

Know your oven temp! Many different pavlova recipes call for different oven temps and that's precisely because every oven is different - and that's why it's a good idea to test your oven first out and try making one before you plan to make it for guests.

My oven at home is a new electric convection oven and heats med to high, and I bake the pavlova at 125 degrees Celsius for 1 hour and 15 minutes, then turn off the ocen at the end of the 1h15 - and leave tye pavlova in for another 15 minutes to dry out and cool. It should be ever so slightly browned but still white - with a crisp outside and a soft inside.

Once it's dry and cool, allow another 10 minutes or so out of the oven before adding the toppings.

Toppings :

Traditional pavlova calls for simply whipped cream and berries. I like to add a few teaspoons of lemon curd to the fresh whipped cream and then fresh berries on top. This way you can use the egg yolks from the whites you needed for the merengue.

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