Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Pavlova Story....or a saga

I don't know what drove me to do it I'm 6 months pregnant and cravings have gone into overdrive, but I decided that this summer I would master the mighty PAVLOVA. I made my first real pav quite a few years ago for my Mum's birthday and it was absolutely PERFECT....but things haven't been the same since....

I've narrowed my pavlova recipes down to two over the years - one is soft and marshmallowy, but not very crispy - just how my husband likes it. And the other is a nice hard shell, slightly chewy, and soft and fluffy in the middle - just how I like it. Here's a story, don't believe what you see in the photos....

The first real pav that I made for my mum quite a few years ago Instagram wasn't invented then so I made this pic look a bit flash by applying a filter. Perfectly crisp, chewy, soft and marshmallowy inside. No 'weeping', perfect pale colour, perfectly whipped cream and fresh fruit which just looked like it did in the cookbook. Beginners luck? No, I am officially the PAV QUEEN!!! gloat

This summer I went Pavlova crazy. Here's the first I made for one of our family Christmas dinners. Doesn't it look amazing! It 'wept' - I can't think of another way to describe it. You know how gum weeps out of a tree? Sugar syrup wept out of my pav. sunk and majorly cracked. Blow!! Nothing a whole lot of cream and fresh fruit won't fix....

Take two: mini pavs for the 'trio of desserts' I made for our other family Christmas dinner....Made at my mother-in-laws so a different oven. I'd just finished baking the brownie in the oven, so it was already warm. Asked husband to turn oven onto 130 degrees for me, which he did. Put the tray of pavs in the oven, half an hour later....nothing happening. Hour later, not much more happening. Felt the oven - stone cold. OMG, I'm trying to be all fancy in front of about 20 people and I have to plate up soon. Turns out there's a timer thing on the oven which needs to be activated in order to work. So turned it on and crossed my fingers. They were okaaaaaay. Very chewy. The teenage boys knew no different and wiped out any smidgen of leftovers.

Third time lucky? This time at another relatives place whilst on holiday. The electric egg beater was slower than I'm used to, and I was distracted while it was cooking and left it too long so it was a bit too brown for my liking. And really 'eggy'. And of course it sunk. But they loved it It was better than a shop bought one.

Back in my mother-in-laws kitchen, made this one with caramelised nectarines. But the fan forced oven (no other option) cooked it too fast. Major sinkage. Too brown. But still good. Sigh.

Back home, in my own kitchen with my own stuff. Surely I've nailed it. I forgot I had thrown away the my electric egg beater before we went on holiday because the beaters went rusty. For some reason I didn't get that mighty Kitchen Aid for Christmas. The only shop open in our little town was The Warehouse so I quickly purchased the only electric egg beater they had. It was SLOW. And the beaters were like little pieces of wire. Didnt fluff up so well. But then I realised, this might be a good thing. I ran out of proper baking paper so had to use other parchment paper....and it stuck to the bottom - almost a sin! But because it wasn't beaten to tremendous puff it didn't much. Major crackage. It was still good, but not what I wanted. 

Last time....same as above, except I had proper baking paper. I thought I had this down pat, and was watching it come to life in the oven. It was looking perfect. I left it in there until completely cool, brought it out and left it on the bench. Oh my precious. You are perfect. I'm just going to go put a load of washing on and I'll be right back....Nek minit Five minutes later....cracked, sunken, like someone had dropped a basketball onto it. Pile it with cream and caramelised nectarines. It's for the camera. They will not know the difference....

So the Pavlova saga continues. I shall share the recipes I use in my next blog, but in the meantime....feel free to help a girl out!!! You would not believe how much weight I have put on over this time, I blame the baby. 

Over and out!


  1. Haha I have this same problem with pavs, and I still make them in the hope one day they will all be prefect. I think that is the way a traditional should be, the ones in the stores have a stabilizer in them.

    1. I do wonder if there is the 'perfect' home baked pav. I'd love to see (and try) one someday. Stabilizer huh, oh the cheats!

  2. Apparently the weeping happens if your eggs are too fresh. The weeping pavlova that is. The weeping woman is most likely due to pregnancy hormones.

    1. Aha!! Come to think of it I had heard that using not so fresh eggs was better. Yes, totally agree about the weeping woman. I blame hormones for almost everything.

  3. No help I'm afraid, but really enjoyed this post!! Good luck on your on going Pav journey:P

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Rhi! I think I am all pav'd out for now...perhaps I'll pick it up again in winter - see if less humidity does the trick! :-)

  4. Something I tried with my Pavs is putting a bit of food colouring in. Green and Red swirls for Xmas sort of thing. Yellow comes out pretty. Sheryl

  5. Hi,
    Use a knife to put furrows around outside of pav...strengthens the walls, it works every time. I have been making pavs for a number of years now and they have been very successful until recently...have a new oven...they now weep, and the day after is even worse...looks like the inside is just melting away...puddles on plate! I have tried adjusting temperature and cooking isn't
    as hard as I'd like it to be. I have one in the oven cooling...I will not give up!!!


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