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Dancer in the dark

Welcome to the first in an occasional series of baking and cake challenges set by Mister Smith for yours truly. Hopefully, they will be amusing and educational as well as giving some ideas for Task setting or earning brownie points in Y/you're dynamic!

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert with a soft and chewy center, delicious served with whipped cream and soft fruit. It is named after Anna Pavlova the ballet dancer who visited New Zealand and Australia on her world tour in the 1920s and created by an unknown chef in her honor.

It has the advantage of being really easy but looks like you have been up all night cooking! Serves 8-10


  • Four egg whites

  • 6 ounces/170 grams/half a mug Caster Sugar

  • 2 teaspoons cornflour

  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence

Prepare a flat baking tray by wrapping in tin foil. I usually fold enough under the tray so you can use if for storing the complete Pavlova after it cooks. Lightly oil the tray to prevent sticking. I use a low tasting oil like rapeseed or sunflower.

Set the oven to low Gas Mark 1 or 2/275-300 F/140-150C

Beat the eggs until they start peaking. Fold in the sugar and beat. Add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla essence.

Beat until the mixture stands up in folds and is more like a mousse.

Spoon the mixture out on the tray in a circle and leave a well in the middle for whipped. , double cream and the soft fruit of your choice. Mine takes about 40 minutes but test the outside to see if it is set and going golden brown. I tend to use unrefined sugar so the mixture is already a light brown so use your judgment!

Once the outside is set, turn off the heat and leave in the oven to cool completely. This should stop the Pavlova cracking. It can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days but keep it dry (hence the tinfoil). Serve as above and wait for the compliments as people get the crisp outside and soft chewy center sensation.

Sir's Verdict: 'You can make that again!'

Comments from Mister Smith.

He turned up with a cool box containing bowls of a brown desert with cream and raspberries. Turns out it was Pavlova which is not something I have had before. It had a nice crispy exterior with a soft meringue center complimented with the cream and the sudden burst of sweetness from the raspberries. I would certainly recommend it to anyone wanting to show off with something different or to try a new desert. I say desert but I was eating it at 12.50pm and did not think twice about finishing it.

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