Today I rendezvoused at a local cafe quaintly named The Grumpy Baker. With my cousins to discuss our Christmas Day menu. There is one unspoken rule. Everyone pitches in and shares the load. We like to keep it simple. A little bit traditional. A little bit modern. Seafood for starters. Turkey, ham and beef for main. Lots of salad. And much, much later dessert. Christmas Pudding. Pavlova. Nice Cream on a stick. It’s a formula that works. Relaxed and relatively stress free.
Our Christmas Pavlova is especially divine. Baked by our lovely niece Dominica using her grandmother Ma Ma’s recipe. Ma Ma also prepares and serves the Christmas pudding. So between them Ma Ma and Dominica have dessert pretty much covered. A gorgeous tradition. Passing the Christmas dessert baton down through the generations.
Here is Ma Ma’s original recipe scribed by Dominica into a notebook many years ago.
Pavlova. An iconic Australian dessert. Named after the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova to commemorate her visit to these shores in the late 1920’s. Light as air. The hallmark of a perfect pavlova is a glossy crisp-shelled meringue base with a soft marshmallow-y centre.
Topped with fresh cream and berries and a dusting of icing sugar. A decidedly delicious and decadent festive dessert.
Dominica’s Christmas Pavlova with a Medley of Fresh Berries.
For a festive pavlova use strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
Dominica uses a pavlova plate but if you don’t have one use a baking tray lined with baking paper. Draw an 18 – 20 cm circle on the paper, turning the paper over so that the circle is on the reverse side.
4 egg whites
A pinch of salt
250 grams caster sugar (a little more than 1 cup)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 level dessert spoon gluten free corn flour
PREHEAT oven to 210 C.
BEAT whites of 4 eggs with a pinch of salt for 5-6 minutes, gradually adding caster sugar. ADD 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar and 1/4 of a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Beat until stiff and very thick.
SIFT 1 level dessert spoon of cornflour into the mixture and fold in lightly, NOT TOO MUCH otherwise it will flatten.
PILE meringue high onto a plate lined with foil or wet with water. Place in hot oven. Turn oven down to 115 C IMMEDIATELY.
BAKE undisturbed for 1 1/2 hours and no longer.
LEAVE in oven to cool with door ajar to make sure air circulates into the oven.
WHEN ready to serve, top with whipped cream and fresh fruit.