What could taste more like home this Christmas than Pavlova with South African fruit? Nothing, right?! When spending Christmas away from South Africa, the differences, especially in terms of culture and traditions, really stand out. If you’ve done this before, you’re probably already looking for little ways you can make your Christmas more South African while living abroad. If this is your first festive season as an expat, prepare yourself – you’re going to get that “I miss Christmas at home” feeling! Get everything you need to South African up your Christmas before the big day. Our recommendation for the Christmas table is none other than Christmas Pavlova. It looks good, it smells good and it tastes good too. In our humble opinions, it’s a Christmas win!
The Origins of Pavlova
You probably already know that a dessert with the name “Pavlova” doesn’t originate from South Africa, even though it is thoroughly enjoyed by a vast majority of the population. It actually comes from Australia and is named after a Russian ballerina called Anna Pavlova. The dessert was created to honour the ballerina during one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand, which has caused much fighting between the two countries about its origins. If you’re a South African expat in either of these countries, it would be quite fitting to South Africanize the dish for Christmas this year, don’t you think?
The Many Flavours of Pavlova
The great news about this particular dessert is that you can make a vegan Pavlova, chocolate Pavlova, strawberry Pavlova – the options are limitless. You can make any type of Pavlova that tickles your fancy; and it’s absolutely guaranteed to be delicious. As it turns out, Pavlova dessert is versatile enough to incorporate any flavours, while still being able to cater to the beliefs, dietary requirements, and taste buds of all of your family, friends, and guests. What a way to serve the perfect dessert this Christmas! If you need a few pointers for whipping up a delicious Pavlova dessert, here they are…
Best Pavlova Recipe
Making Pavlova the South African Way
You will find many Pavlova recipes on the internet to follow, but this one is one of our favourites for its simplicity and tastiness. Whipping up this Pavlova recipe will be as much fun as it is easy. Simply gather the goodies you need and get to work.
What you need:
- 4 egg whites (for vegan Pavlova, use 12 tablespoons of aquafaba instead)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons of corn starch
- 1 and 1/4 cups of white sugar
- 2 teaspoons of white vinegar
For the topping/filling, you need the following:
- Heavy cream (for vegan Pavlova, use coconut cream – make sure you refrigerate it overnight and only use the thick cream that separates and floats on the top)
- Caster sugar
- Vanilla essence
- South African fruits including blueberry, strawberry, gooseberry, cherry, apricot pieces
- Ice cream (for a vegan Pavlova, choose almond ice cream or Mylk ice cream)
What to Do:
- First, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- While the oven is heating, grab a baking tray and line it with tin foil (shiny side down).
- Dust the tin foil with a little bit of corn starch and set it to one side.
- Whisk the egg whites (or aquafaba) with a little bit of salt to create a light and foamy mixture. It’s just right when it looks as if the bubbles are evenly distributed and just before the mixture is ready to peak.
- While beating slowly and continuously, add the sugar just one spoon at a time. Stop beating when the mixture is stiff and shiny.
- Sift the corn starch over the stiffened egg whites and lightly fold in, along with the vinegar to form a meringue foam.
- Spoon the meringue foam onto the baking trays in the shape and size that you wish to serve the dessert in.
- Bake the meringue foam for about 1 hour or until they have turned light and dry. Crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside is just perfect for a Pavlova meringue.
- Leave the meringues to cool and then store in an airtight container until needed.
To make the delicious topping, here’s what you need to do:
- Whip the cream with sugar and vanilla essence. Don’t whip for too long as you will cause the cream to split – rather stop just as the cream gets stiff and thick.
- Spoon the whipped cream on top of each meringue and pile on your berries and pieces of fruit.
- For a bit of extra decadence, grate chocolate over the very top.
All that is left to do is serve it with a winning smile. It won’t last long, so make enough for seconds!
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