I'd already finished by book project about a koala that happened to be in the shape of an oak leaf (science project meets english project, apparently?) and was now moving on to sharing a food from Australia with my classmates. Pavlova was the obvious choice, if only because I didn't know any other authentically Australian foods. Plus, its absolutely delicious.
I remember it being a big hit with the teachers, though I don't honestly remember my classmates reactions. I've modified this recipe from the traditional recipe because individual/couple portions hold up better when there are leftovers. Plus, they just look cute.
Pavlova w/Strawberries + Mango
adapted from my Australian Family's recipe
Preheat oven 350º
Makes 6 individual meringues.
Serves 12 [1 per 2 people]
In a large electric mixing bowl, combine:
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
2 scant teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Mix on low for thirty seconds so that all ingredients are combined.
1/4 cup boiling water
Mix on high for several minutes until stiff peaks form.
Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Fill measuring cup (1 cup) with meringue; pour onto cookie sheet. Use a spatula to smooth into a circle, about four inches in width and two inches in height. Repeat five times. The meringues should be placed about two inches apart.
Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 200º and bake an additional 30 minutes.
Let cool on parchment paper. [Aside: Meringue can be stored in an airtight container for several days.]
Meanwhile, prepare fruit by combining in a medium bowl:
2 mangos, peeled and diced
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
sugar as desired
In a large electric mixing bowl, add:
1 cup heavy cream
Beat on high until cream is whipped.
1. Place meringue on plate.
2. Spoon 1/6 of the cream on top of the meringue. If the meringue hasn't fallen, it will probably break at this point and that is okay.
3. Spoon fruit on top and on side of the whipped cream.
4. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.