With Australia Day fast approaching, T&W foodie and stylist Jono Fleming shares a new spin on a national staple…
It’s an argument for the ages: who invented the pavlova? The Aussies or the Kiwis? There’s a good case for both sides, as well as a bit of back and forth as to the type of dessert it originally was. What we can agree on is that it’s the perfect national dish for both countries.
This recipe is a more grown-up version of the pav. It’s the ideal accompaniment to a sausage sizzle and sinking a couple of tinnies (or chardies).
6 egg whites
1 ½ cups of caster sugar
Balsamic fig syrup
5 dried figs
¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
1 cup of water
2 punnets of strawberries, halved
1 punnet of blueberries
300ml thickened cream
3 fresh figs
Preheat your oven to 120 degrees celsius.
In a large bowl or a stand mixer, add the egg whites and beat on a high speed for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is starting to form stiff peaks. Add the caster sugar bit by bit – this makes sure all the sugar dissolves as you go. Beat the mixture on high until it is smooth and glossy. It should be stiff and able to hold its shape.
Cut a piece of baking paper that fits the dish you’re serving your pavlova on, and put it on a baking tray. Dollop all the mixture on the baking paper and spread it out with a spatula. It doesn’t have to be neat – in fact, make it rough with lots of shape, it’ll give your pav some character and all the little dips and crevices will hold the sauce.
Put this into the oven for an hour and a half and then turn the oven off when it’s done. Leave the meringue in the oven to cool completely before taking it out to decorate. If you take it out too early, it will most likely collapse on itself.
To make the fig syrup, roughly chop the dried figs into small chunks. In a small saucepan, add the figs, balsamic vinegar and water and simmer on a low heat until the liquid reduces and thickens. When the mixture cools a little, strain the liquid into a bowl, squeezing out any extra juices soaked up by the dried figs. Set aside.
To decorate the pavlova, start by drizzling the strawberries and blueberries with a bit of normal balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Give them a mix so that they’re all roughly coated and set aside. In a separate bowl, whip the cream either with a whisk or an electric beater until stiff peaks form.
Dollop the cream gently over the whole meringue. Don’t spread too hard – you don’t want to break the meringue. Top with the berries. Cut the figs into wedges and place over the top of the strawberries. Drizzle the fig syrup, and don’t be afraid to be messy! It’s much easier than placing all the fruit neatly and looks beautiful and rustic. I threw on a few edible flowers at the end just to add some extra prettiness to it all.