Childhood was made sweeter by our visits to Gisborne, and being spoiled rotten by aunty. This is her recipe, baked to perfection and achieving that magical ratio of soft, melty filling to crunchy, nutty topping.
Every time I make it I will image her peering over my shoulder.
Aunty Darling’s Pavlova
4 egg whites, room temp
250g caster sugar
1 tsp wine vinegar/lemon juice
1 dsp water
A wee pinch cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 heaped tbsp cornflour
Preheat oven to 180°C
• Place baking paper on an oven tray and trace a circle on it, about 22-25cm diameter – a small dinner plate is a good guide.
• Separate egg whites. Beat vigorously with cream of tartar, on high, until stiff. Beat five minutes. Keep the beater running while you add the remaining ingredients.
• When the five minutes are up, gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Add the vanilla essence and water. Then after two or three minutes add vinegar or lemon juice. Beat another two minutes.
• Finally add the cornflour and beat just a minute or two. Gradually scrape the mixture on to the baking tray, inside the circle, shaping it with a round-ended knife or small spatula so that it fits neatly inside the circle. The sides should be near-vertical; try to avoid air bubbles.
Put in oven. Turn off oven. Do not peek. Leave in the oven until cool. Can be kept in the oven until the next day.
Then, whip ALL the cream and smother it over, top with sliced strawberries and blueberries and those green kiwi things and a few bits of chocolate. (I wouldn’t be surprised if aunty also added kitty treats on a special slice for her cat Rosie too!)