Kiwi berries

Mini Pavlovas

This past weekend we had one of my closest Australian friends and her husband come to visit. I really enjoy showing people around this city; it reaffirms how much I love living here. I’ve been finding it so easy to get bogged down in day-to-day life, and I always welcome the opportunity to play tourist again. We went sightseeing, shopping, and of course ate A LOT of food. I’ve realised that my list of “must go” places when we have visitors is dominated by a variety of restaurants and cafés. What can I say I love food! My friend also lives in the States, and doesn’t get to go back to Australia very often. I think we were all feeling a little homesick, so we headed to this great Australian pub here in Seattle. Their menu is full of simple cheap Aussie snack food, like chips and gravy, cheese toasty’s, sausage rolls, and of course the classic meat pie.

There is nothing spectacular about a meat pie, but when you have been away from Australia it inspires a certain amount of nostalgia. They taste like home, and always manage to bring a smile to my face. Now that I think about it, I believe they also sell them online... excuse me while I go stack my freezer. 

The only thing their menu was lacking was a good Australian dessert. Lamingtons, Tim Tams, caramel slice, or a delicious Pavlova like this one would all have been great additions to an already delicious menu. I made these Pavlova’s a few weeks ago after coming across kiwi berries at the markets. I had never had them before, but this fruit instantly brought to mind the sort of Pavlova I would have had throughout my childhood. Instead of going for the more traditional toppings (banana, strawberry, kiwi fruit, passionfruit), I chose to top my mini Pavlova’s with all local fruits like damson plums, kiwi berries, huckleberries and elderberries. The best thing about a Pavlova though is that you can top it with absolutely anything you like. One of the best I have had was at Christmas last year, made with rosewater and topped with raspberries and pomegranate. This recipe is best to start the day before you need it, as Pavlova should ideally be left to slowly cool down in the oven overnight. 

3 egg whites
190g caster sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
fruit for topping (anything you like – I picked kiwi berries, damson plums and huckleberries)
elderberry syrup

Bring your egg whites to room temperature, clean your bowl, and preheat the oven to 180 degrees. 
Whisk the egg whites on a medium speed until they form soft peaks.
Slowly add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, continuing to whisk until all the sugar is used up and you have stiff and shiny peaks.
Gently fold through the cream of tartar. 
Scoop out the meringue into 6-8 mounds onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. I used an ice cream scoop to help with potions, but this does not have to be in any way perfect. 
Using the back of a teaspoon, make a depression in the meringue to form a slight hollow.
Put in the oven and turn the heat straight down to 150 degrees.
Bake for around 35 minutes.
Turn the oven off and leave the Pavlova’s in the oven to cool down completely, preferably overnight. 
Whip the cream to soft peaks.
Spoon some cream into the hollow on the top of the Pavlova and top with fruit.
Finish with a drizzle of elderberry syrup.