Mrsfoodiemumma – Marie Muccio, foodie, wife, mum of three and granddaughter – inspiring you to get excited about food!
Christmas is coming! Even if we didn’t want to think about it we have no choice as from the end of October retailers already have Christmas decorations up and fruit mince pies on the shelves! As I reflect back on the last 12 months, it’s been a really exciting year for me. Starting this column and also launching my website www.mrsfoodiemumma.com.
I’m so happy to write this today because Christmas is my favourite time of the year. Even though it’s also the most stressful time in the lead up, it’s definitely all worth it on Christmas Day. One of the reasons I love Christmas so much is because of the food! Even if you’re not a passionate cook everyone seems to pull out all the stops for Christmas! It’s all about the wow factor!
One of the Christmas classics is the humble Pavlova which I have been perfecting for the past 10 years and I feel like I’ve got it now! The crisp outer shell with the gooey marshmallow centre, what makes it look so pretty and taste amazing is the cream and all the beautiful fruit. It actually tastes even better the next day, because the fruit juices have had time to seep into the cream and give it a beautiful sweetness.
Here’s a fun fact; did you know the dessert is actually named after a Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova! It was created in her honour after one of her tours to Australia in the 1920s and it’s now an Aussie favourite still to this day. How cool is that!
A few tips I have learned over the years is that the eggs need to be at room temperature. This allows the whites to peak with more volume, giving you those beautiful soft peaks.
A big mistake with Pavlova is not whisking the egg whites enough, you need to keep whisking until the sugar has completely dissolved. A way to check this is to hold the bowl upside down (or over someone you’re not very pleased with at that moment in time) and if they don’t tip, its ready!
Baking time and temperature is also very important during the cooking process. If you bake it at a high temperature the meringue is going to burn before it can rise. Similarly if you take the meringue out of the oven when it’s still hot it’s likely to sink. This is why it’s best to leave it in the oven after it’s switched off until the oven has completely cooled down.
The Pavlova wouldn’t be complete without whipped cream and fruit. The combinations are endless with what you can create – the traditional banana, kiwi and strawberries or the fresh figs. You can do cherries, mango, passionfruit… whatever you fancy!
So as I officially sign off for the year, my first year done and dusted, I’m sharing with you my classic Pavlova recipe. Over the holidays be sure to check out my blog www.mrsfoodiemumma.com for lots more delicious recipes. A merry Christmas to you and your families and a safe and happy New year. Xxx
Traditional Pavlova [serves 8-10]
- 8 egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 500 g castor sugar
- 4 teaspoons cornflour
- 2 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
- A few drops of pure vanilla
- 2 cups cream, whipped
- Pulp of 4 passionfruit
- Fresh fruit for decoration
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20cm circle on the paper.
- Beat egg whites and salt until satiny peaks form. Beat in sugar, a third at a time, until meringue is stiff and shiny.
- Sprinkle over cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and fold in lightly.
- Mound onto paper-lined baking tray within circle, flattening top and smoothing sides.
- Place in oven, immediately reduce heat to 150°C and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce further to 120°C and cook for 45 minutes.
- Turn off oven and leave Pavlova in it to cool completely.
- Invert Pavlova onto a platter, pile on cream and spoon over passionfruit pulp.
- Top with fresh fruit of your choice.