Saad Raja

Thoroughly Perfect Pavlova – Saad Raja Food

It’s a recipe with just 4 ingredients, yet pavlovas cause some of the biggest palavers in baking! This delicious confection of marshmallow-soft meringues, cream and fruit is always a showstopper but can cause some problems. From cracks to low heights, it doesn’t take much for your dessert to be a flop. This week, I’m sharing with you my top tips for the perfect pavlova. Let’s get started…

The un-dirty dozen

In general, I’d say that clean equipment is vital for any bake. But when it comes to pavlovas, it could be the difference between perfection and a disaster. With egg whites, the tiniest bit of grease will mean that your pavlova won’t rise and ultimately will be a flop. Wash your bowls with soapy water before you begin. It’ll certainly pay off!

Cool hand yolk

With your eggs, make sure that you’re playing it cool. You’ll need to separate them straight out of the fridge, ensuring they keep at a cold temperature. This means that the egg whites and yolks will hold their shape better, making them easier to separate. For the perfect pavlova, your eggs should be completely separated. Any hint of yolk will stop your whites from whipping to their full potential.

In the heat of the white

The key to a great pavlova is patience. Once you’ve separated your cold eggs, leave them on your bench to come to room temperature before you start whipping. The closer your eggs are to room temperature, the better the whites will whip up. Remember – a good whip is key to getting air into your pavlova. If you want good height and a great texture, this step is vital. Sit back and relax, time is key to your success.

The gradual

Don’t be tempted to rush at the sugar stage. First, start by using caster sugar, as this will dissolve easier than regular white sugar. By doing this, you’ll give yourself a smoother and less grainy finish, which is what you’re aiming for.

Adding the sugar to the whites should be a slow process. After you’ve finished beating your egg whites, keep the beaters running. Then you should be adding the caster sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat this mixture until it is thick and glossy. If you can form stiff peaks, you’re on to a winner!

In cold hood

Once you’ve baked your pavlova, the time comes again for patience. You wanted to let it cool as slowly as possible. So, keep it in the oven to provide a warm hood, but leave the oven door slightly ajar to let n cooler air. Doing this will mean that the temperature drops gradually. Any sharp drops to a colder climate could see your pavlova crack or even drop in height. Say no to these imperfections and let it cool gradually.

Far from the maddening cloud

Humidity is the enemy of your pavlova. The moisture in the air can really put a dampener on your meringue, so avoid making this dessert on a rainy day – if you can! As well as natural causes of humidity, there are several other steps you can take to rid your kitchen of troubling steam. Don’t use any boiling pots while baking pavlova or use the dishwasher.  

With these tips, you can bake the perfect pavlova. You’ll find that your egg whites are well-behaved and your pavlova is lofty – the key is patience. And if everything goes wrong, there’s always Eton Mess!

Saad Raja