Ah pav… the most important part of any classic Aussie Christmas day menu! There is a never ending culture war over whether we own it or it rightfully belongs to New Zealand, but I say at this point we let it go and just acknowledge that the pav is a quintissential part of both our cultures… after all, we have a lot of other stuff in common!
Most pavlova recipes call for at least six egg whites, but unless you come from a family as big as mine (there’s about 45 of us on Christmas day), you don’t need a six or more egg white pav! In fact, this is my most common complaint from clients: “I don’t need a big pav! But there’s no recipes for small ones!” they say.
Lucky for them, I have a perfect three egg white pav that is ideal for four to six hungry friends or family members this Christmas.
All you need is: Three egg whites, 165g caster sugar and 1tsp white vinegar.
Using an electric whisk (you can do it manually, but you might put out your shoulder), beat the egg whites until they’re super stiff – so stiff you can turn the bowl upside down over your head and they don’t slop onto you. Then, add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, while you keep the electric beaters going. This way the sugar doesn’t have a chance to sink to the bottom and become a wet, soggy mess. Once all the sugar is incorporated, add the white vinegar and whisk through.
On a baking sheet lined with baking paper, dollop the egg white mixture in any way you desire. I like the classic big dome that I jazz up a bit by dragging the sides up with the back of a spoon.
Bake low and slow (1 hour, 20 minutes at 120C) and then turn off the oven but leave it inside! It’s really important to let it cool completely in the oven, with the door closed, for another hour.
Finish with cream (I spike mine with vanilla and a couple teaspoons of sugar) and your favourite summer fruits!