Pav in a pan! Never again will you have to worry about how to transport your lovingly created Pavlova to Christmas lunch! And who knew cooking a pav in an Ironclad Pan would produce the most crunchy of crusts and the softest of marshmallow centres?
Our family has an enormous love affair with the Christmas pudding table and Mum was always the Pavlova Queen. Then, in a pavlova master class 8 years ago, Mum ceremoniously passed the mantle over to my partner who has taken the job most seriously, but now it’s my turn!
One of my favourite parts of our Ironclad collaboration is dreaming up a show stopper of a Christmas pud and this year Mum’s voice popped into my head. “Try a pav darling!”
I whispered back to the heavens, “But will it work in an Ironclad Pan?”
“Give it a go,” she said. “Just make sure it’s perfect!”
That’s just the kind of woman she was.
So with Mum’s recipe, an electric hand beater and 6 fresh duck eggs courtesy of the neighbours in hand I took to the task. No traces of fat on the equipment. Tick. No sneaky yolks in the whites. Tick. Drizzled in the most delicious chocolate in the world, my pavlova looked absolutely splendid as I slipped it into the oven. Upon release some 14 hours later, she was looking even more splendid from the side angle but a gaping crack had formed between the crust and the marshmallow. “Fail” resonated loudly from the other side. Followed swiftly by “Now try again.”
Now armed with another neighbour’s fancy KitchenAid and a bunch of free-range chicken eggs, I went in for a second go. And the result? Exactly the same! It must be something about the heat of the pan that changes the way the pav rises…then sets. Whatever the alchemy, I now had two Mt Vesuvius style pavs staring at me from the bench top. As I admired their gorgeous imperfection, I remembered all those leftover egg yolks in the fridge and a stroke of “how to fill the gaping hole” genius overcame me. Orange curd! 10 minutes later the orange curd was chilling in the fridge and a few hours after that I folded it through mascarpone and whipped cream. I then carefully chipped away at the hole in the top of the pav so I could evenly dollop the curd between the crust and the marshmallow centre.
Piled high with fresh strawberries, a scattering of grated chocolate and crumbled freeze dried mandarins, failure was starting to look a lot like success! My tasters agreed. They’d never tasted a pav like it! A showstopper indeed! So Mum, thanks for continuing to push me, your pavlova legacy lives on but I just wish you were here to share a little spoonful or six.
Chocolate. For this recipe I implore you, if you haven’t already, to explore Foundry Chocolate’s amazing bean to bar range. I used their 70% Papua New Guinea chocolate for this recipe. The beans are grown ethically and organically on the slopes of the Karkar Island volcano. And the resulting taste? A tropical explosion of pawpaw and lychees! Each bar weighs around 70g.
6 large egg whites (200g)
400 g caster sugar
1 T sifted cornflour
3 t vinegar
1 t vanilla essence
60 g 70% Foundry Papua New Guinea chocolate
You’ll only use half of this per pavlova.
6 large egg yolks
100 g caster sugar
Zest of 2 large oranges
½ c fresh orange juice
Zest of 1 lemon
120 g butter chopped into small chunks
300 ml fresh cream, stiffly whipped
150 g fresh mascarpone
10 g chocolate for grating
4 freeze dried mandarin segments
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Finely chop the chocolate and melt in a heat proof bowl over boiling water (a bain-marie). Or melt in the microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring in between each burst. Then leave to cool down but not harden.
** Because this chocolate has nothing but cacao beans and organic sugar in it you need to be careful whilst you melt it. Do not overheat and use a metal spoon rather than wooden to stir. Don’t let the steam from the pan get into the bowl or allow the bottom of your heat proof bowl to touch the boiling water beneath.
Cut a circle the same diameter as your Ironclad Pan bottom. Now place a plate that leaves a 2cm gap around the edge in the middle of the pan and draw around it. You’ll use this as a guide when you form your pav.
Wipe out the bowl and beater with a little vinegar or lemon juice on a paper towel to ensure there is no fat on the surfaces. Dry off then beat the egg whites on high until they are super thick. If you were to turn the bowl upside down they shouldn’t fall out!
Now set aside 5 - 7 minutes to combine sugar with egg whites! With the beater still on high add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, whipping for 10 seconds between each addition. A good time to meditate and count. When it’s all incorporated if you have a fancy machine walk away and let it beat on high for another 3 minutes. If you are using arm power, dig deep. It will all be worth it!
Now sprinkle in the cornflour, add the vinegar, vanilla essence and fold through the mixture until combined.
Stick the baking paper down to the base of your pan with a few small blobs of pavlova mix and drop large spoonfuls into the lined pan. Shape with a spatula. I like the volcano shape. Don’t let the pavlova mix go outside the inside circle you drew earlier. It should be 4 inches or so high.
Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate onto the pavlova as per the photo then using a fork start at the top and swiftly in one stroke create tear shaped shaped swirls. Don’t over swirl or you’ll lose the pretty!
Turn the oven down to 120°C and bake the pav for 1 hour and 15 mins in the centre of the oven without opening the door! Leave in the oven with the door shut to cool down for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Over a bain-marie whisk the egg yolk, sugar, citrus zests and juice until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. Add the lumps of butter one at a time and continue whisking until butter lump melts before adding the next. When all the butter is combined, transfer to the fridge and let chill for at least three hours. The longer you chill it, the thicker it will set.
** Don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the boiling water or you may end up with sweet scrambled eggs. Which won’t go well with the Pav.
Stir half the curd into the mascarpone then fold this mix into whipped cream. Make sure the cream is really stiffly whipped or the mix will be too runny.
**Store the remaining curd in a jar in the fridge or tie a ribbon around it and gift it to somebody! It’s Christmas after all! Delicious on toast or as a cake filling or in your next pav.
If you plan to serve on a different serving plate, use a knife to gently lift the base up under the baking paper, then remove paper and place the pav on your serving platter. If serving in your pan you can miss this step.
Remove a little of the centre of pav topping so you can use a spoon to dollop the curd mixture between the marshmallow and the crust, then crumble the bits you removed over the curd.
Pile your strawberries high in the middle of the pav, grate chocolate and crumble freeze dried mandarins over the top and serve. You can prepare a couple of hours in advance then keep in a cool place or the fridge until you're ready to serve.
Delicious with bubbly!