The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is An Italian Meringue To Soft For A Pavlova Base

kah22's picture

Is An Italian Meringue To Soft For A Pavlova Base

Hi guys, I’m heading to a BBQ this coming week-end and as I have six egg whites sitting in the freezer I thought I'd have a go at making a few pavlovas for the event.

I use the Italian meringue recipe.

Most pavlova recipes that I've read use a French recipe and have you adding cornflour and vinegar. As I understand it the cornflour and vinegar are added to strengthen the egg white and make it more stable and it helps to give it that marshmallowy texture, I’ve also read that vinegar makes the pavlova more fluffier.

What I like about my Italian meringue recipe is that it is more stable and gives good consistent results but what I’d like to know is do I still need to add the cornflour and vinegar and if so at what stage and in what quantities. Some have suggested that the Italian meringue is to soft to support a pavlova top.

Here's my recipe:

•    360 grams of white caster sugar,
•    six egg whites and
•    80 ml of water.
•    3 teaspoons liquid glucose

I make my meringue by putting the sugar, liquid glucose and water into my pan and letting it dissolve over a gentle heat.

Once the sugar has fully dissolved I bring the mixture to boiling point. Not having a sugar thermometer at the moment it’s a bit of guess work!

While all that is happening I’m whisking my egg whites to a soft peak.

Now the terrifying part! When the sugar syrup has reached its ‘hard ball’ stage  I very gently pour the syrup into the egg while at the same time continuing to whisk at a slow speed. When I first tried this method it surprised me how easy it was and I’ve stuck with it since.

Once the syrup has been added I increase the speed to medium high and continue to whisk for about 5 to 7 minutes.

copyu's picture

Pavlova recipes I've seen and used ALWAYS had some acids...vinegar or tartaric acid (cream of tartar) and sometimes both, but that's not really necessary, in my opinion. Vinegar alone will do just fine.

Additionally, they use quite a bit more sugar than your glucose syrup. 1.5 teaspoons of vinegar for 6 egg-whites is in all the Australian and NZ recipes I can access...This recipe, which is dear to the hearts of Aussies and Kiwis works well: NO added water and NO heating. The large amount of sugar is added by the teaspoonful while beating the egg-whites. Once the egg-whites and sugar have formed peaks, the vinegar and vanilla essence are folded in, gently.

NB: The oven should be heating just before you start beating the always comes out perfectly. I don't know if that's the 'French' way, but it worked great in the southern hemisphere. 

6 egg whites

2 cups caster sugar (could be up to 2.5 US cups!)

1.5 teasp vinegar

1.5 teasp vanilla essence

Good luck with the dinner! Hope this helps...