I am infamously quoted among my extended family as having said “I don’t really eat dessert” and then also, not long after , “‘I’ll have a little bit more please” at one of my first Christmas dinners with my new family.
So it goes with this, the Bruce family Marshmallow Pavlova.
I really am not that much of a dessert eater, unless it involves fruit, cheese or chocolate. But this pavlova is perfect. Marshmallowy, crunchy and sweet all at once.
My absolute favorite (but definitely not traditional) way to decorate it is with too much cream, generous drizzles of melted white chocolate, little chocolate balls and some fresh berries.
I have also experimented with rose water & chocolate in the base as flavorings.
The Bruce family stick to a strict regime of fresh fruit and flake or peppermint crisp as toppings. You can’t really go wrong with these.
This recipe belongs to my late Mother-in law. She taught me a lot about cooking sweet food. She loved cakes and sweets and had a huge repertoire of recipes that were tried and tested. She added her own notations to them year by year, always eager to share the secret tricks to getting these recipes perfected.
I often think back to the advice she gave me when I was home looking after my first baby. Tired, exhausted and completely bamboozled by this new task I had before me to raise a tiny, gorgeous human, she supported me in a vast array of practical tasks without judgement or comment.
Her advice was this
“Always have a packet of biscuits handy for yourself. If you get up in the middle of the night to feed the baby and you are hungry, you will have something to eat.”
In essence what she was saying was “look after yourself” and it was very valuable and precious advice.
She was that kind of person.
I have printed her “notes” here for your enjoyment and to help you make an awesome pavlova.
Her number one rule of pavlova making (and she made many, many pavolvas in her time) was this.
“Just have a bash at it because you can’t get it too wrong and either way it will be delicious.”
4 egg whites
1 cup of caster sugar
1 dessertspoon of cornflour
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Add egg whites until stiff.
Add 1/2 cup of castor sugar, beat thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved- about 5 minutes.
Add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.
Lightly fold in the cornflour then the vinegar.
Scrape the mixture out into a pile onto grease proof paper. Shape it into a circle and keep it fairly high in shape as it spreads a bit as it cooks.
Place on a low shelf in a pre heated oven 200 degrees celsius, then immediately reduce heat to 125 degrees and cook for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool in the oven.
Note that the pavlova will shrink and crack on cooling- that is normal- just fill it with whipped cream and toppings.
Extra notes for eggselent pav.
- Buy medium eggs and make sure they are room temperature before using.
- Seperate the egg whites from yolks into a cup one at a time before adding them to a big basin as you must not get any yolk in with the whites as it will prevent fluffiness and a good stiffness of the whites.
- Put the whites into a dry, clean basin- no greasiness. Warm it a little first if you like, to help the egg whites fluff up more (sometimes I warm the beaters in the oven for a few minutes first so that the egg whites fluff up more.)
- When you first beat the egg whites don’t over beat them- just beat until soft peaks form and it is reasonably stiff- lift the beater up and see if it holds in a peak with only the top bending over. Once you have added some sugar you can beat them as much as you like. Beat until all the sugar is dissolved.
- I am usually generous with the vinegar and cornflour. It using an electric mixer just gently beat on low speed- til just mixed in.
- Putting the pavlova in at high temperature puffs it up well, then lower the temperature for cooking- an extra quarter of an hour never hurts as it makes a bit more of a crisp crust. Sometimes you check it when the time is up and the crust seems quite fragile- just cook it another 15 minutes and be sure to check it.
- In the cooler weather the pavlova will cool faster and crack a little more but if left in the warmth too long it can sweat.
- I usually cover with a light food cover until its quite cool- put on a plate and in the fridge until ready to se. It will be Ok in there for a couple of days. If you want to keep it longer pop it in the freezer- it should be Ok for about 4 weeks.
- For the topping you can beat some cream well and add some icing sugar and vanilla.
Enjoyed this recipe?
Then you might like to see some of my other traditional recipes.