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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Breaking Nearly All The Rules - Pavlova

I have no excuse. I knew weeks ago that we were going to a have dinner with friends at the farm and I was assigned the desert. I knew well in advance that I would take Pavlova because it appeals to young and old transports OK.
There is an unwritten law that a real Australian woman makes scones for morning tea and Pavlova for BBQs. 
Pavlova has it's own set of laws too.

Did I make them the day before...Noooo...first rule broken.
I got up early in the morning to madly whip them up and bake off before we had to be at country football watching Izaac play.
I have my eggs at room temperature.....CHECK
I crack one egg and separate at a time into a small dish....CHECK
Each egg white goes into a clean glass bowl......CHECK.
I wonder if I can do a double batch in the Kenwood.....?
From here it is all downhill and the rules fly out the window.

4 egg whites...I double the mix to 8.
I've already got soft peaks forming, now for the castor sugar....I only have plain sugar.
It'll have to do at this stage, fingers crossed.
Next, cornflour....I only have custard powder.
Surely that is just cornflour with vanilla flavour and colour? I'll just omit the vanilla.
And now the white wine vinegar....I only have white verjuice.
Oh well, I've broken so many rules, why not!
So onto the trays of paper and into the oven (pre-heated to 180 CHECK) and turned down immediately to 150 degrees and patiently wait for them to bake for 1 1/4 hours so I can turn them off, leave them in the oven to cool while we are at football.

BUT....I'm so anxious, I break the BIGGEST rule of all....
Halfway through the cooking time I 
open the oven....NOOoooo
and take a peek
I break the biggest rule of all!

And I get away with it.
Thank goodness they turned out fine.
Perhaps they had a very faint cooked vanilla flavour but a bit of cream and fresh banana, mandarin and kiwi and they went down a treat...
AND THAT...Mrs Gleason (my Gr 8 Home Ec teacher) is how I managed to foil you every time. Every second lesson she used to watch me cook and then clap her hands over her head for attention and say loudly "Now gells, this is what you ought NOT do. Come hiar and look at Tanya's...."
I know it made her burn when my marble cake came out the best with text book distinct tri-colour swirls.
This is dedicated to my friend Kat who has been known to say "Oh my poor girl, you cook like me!" but I could only aspire to some of the amazing creations and techniques this girl gets up to and you read about her monthly challenges here.



  1. very proud of you tarn... another tip is a pinch of tartar in the egg whites... it helps them hold their shape longer, so that they stay high while cooking :)

    1. Thanks for the tip Cliffy-O-Queen-of-Pav

  2. Well it just goes to show, rules ARE made to be broken!

  3. This post made me giggle Tanya.
    Such fun and so glad your pavs turned out fine.
    I use rose petal vinegar in mine.

    1. That sounds delicious I am thinking of floral water pavs...I think I have a recipe in my "Taking Tea in the Medina" cookbook about rosewater meringues.
      BTW I can't email you as I think you must have changed ISP. Email me when you get a chance so I can capture your new address.

    2. Just a bit of straight rosewater is yummy, too. Especially paired with blueberries and whipped cream.

  4. Oh good grief, I'm actually blushing. Not that you can tell with the heat we have here today. What was funny, though, is that the whole way through your story I kept thinking about the fact that this sounded completely normal for my kitchen! We had a German lady for our home-ec teacher. Like you, I was always the one who was used to publicly illustrate what NOT to do, but I never had bad results. I got my revenge on her by doing a flambe pudding for my final. I got in trouble for bringing alcohol in (actually, I had a friend grab some for me) and having matches on the high-school campus. The flambe turned out great. The principal told the old bat to give me an A for the project, then told me my butt was gonna get kicked if I ever tried that again. What is it with home-ec teachers?!!!

  5. Pavs are not my forte but my 18 year old Brianna has been knocking them up for family barbecues since she first made one in Yr 8 aged 13. She gets them marshmallowy inside and crisp on the outside. Yum!

    1. That's just how Craig loves them too!

  6. Well done Tanya!You did what you could when you could,'went with the flow', substituted with what you had, stayed calm, and had a magnificent outcome! Go girl :-)
    PS Mrs Kahl was my Year 8 Home Ec 'Nemesis'; criticised everything I did be it cooking or sewing :-/

    1. There seems to be a pattern here with the Home Ec teachers???

  7. Looks so good. You are a great cook and your experience in the kitchen has paid off. Do they teach home economics any longer in your country? I think it's such a shame that it's not taught in the states. Of course, if the girls/guys learn how to cook real food, they will know the stuff in the cafeteria is mostly fake.

    1. I know when my girls went through school it was more just a cooking class than actual home economics. Not much in the way of skills or nutrition either really. I think learning the basics like white sauce, gravy and casseroles should never be underestimated. I'm with you, learn these basics and you never need to by a "cook-in-sauce" pkt/jar again.

  8. It has taken me years to make the pav that doesn;t run out of the oven door.. LOLL Yes you can laugh here :))

    I now make my pav at night and leave it in the oven till morning... My hat goes out to you.. After breaking all those rules it still turned out perfect.. Brilliant :)) some great variations to try also :))..
    I bet they tasted fabulous..
    by the way Hubby tells me I am a great" basic cook "..LOL..

  9. You go girl : o )

    I recall type writing lessons never was taught how to cook in a all girls school. I am sure I would have dreaded cooking or home economics as I can only begin to think what type of teacher we would have compared to the rest!!!

  10. Ha ha! Great post. I learnt that duck eggs DO NOT make great pavs/meringues. Which is funny because they are good in other baking.

  11. It is good to break the rules. I cook for myself mostly. I don't even know the rules. Things usually turn out Ok though. They look great, those meringue things.

  12. The beauty of pav is that most mistakes can be hidden with the whipped cream..... oh and lots of Flake on top!

    My Mum always said the weather conditions can effect the pav too. :)


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