For us, Australia Day comes down to two things—the Triple J Hottest 100 and an epic slice of pavlova piled high with fresh cream and oodles of fruit (passion fruit for us, please).
You can take your sausage rolls and pies (fare suitable for any weekend) and lamingtons (such a delight should be eaten at any afternoon tea opportunity), but when it comes to Australia Day food, the humble pav is a true blue essential.
Which brings us to, the principles of cooking pavlova AND the pavlova recipe your Australia Day wants.
Your bowl for whisking must be SUPER clean—any little bits found within will weigh the mixture down. Be ready to hit it! You don’t want to be stopping to get sugar out when you’re making a pav. If the eggs aren’t fresh, forget it. NO YOLK! Separate your eggs with excellence, because any trace of yolk will a) bring down your deliciously airy meringue mixture AND impart a slightly yellow hue to the finished result. Not cool. DO NOT open your oven while cooking. Seriously.
THE BEST PAVLOVA RECIPE EVER
This is taken from one of the great Australian chefs, Neil Perry. Who, with his ponytail and overall love of a good meal, be it from a street corner or high flying restaurant, makes him a true legend. Onya, Neil.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- 315g egg whites (about 10)
- 525g caster sugar
- 3 tsp corn flour
- 3 tsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Whisk egg whites and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer on low speed until they start to break up, then increase speed to medium and beat until soft peaks form (2 minutes).
Add one-third of the sugar and whisk to combine, then gradually add remaining sugar and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form (2-3 minutes).
Fold through corn flour, vinegar, and vanilla. Then, on a baking tray lined with baking paper, form mixture into a 24cm diameter round with edges slightly higher than the centre.
Reduce oven to 160°C and bake pavlova until lightly browned on the outside and cooked on the inside (25—35 minutes). Next, turn oven off and leave your pav standing in the oven for 10 minutes.
Finally, remove and cool to room temperature (1 hour).
Once cooled, go to town with whipped cream and whatever takes your patriotic fancy.
Happy Australia Day, folks!