As a child, Kathryn Vincent adored her grandmother’s pavlova. “It was her go-to recipe in summer,” Kathryn says. “She made it almost every time we had dinner together and those times she didn’t, I was very disappointed — I refused to try her rhubarb crumble in protest!”
Jean Vincent was born in 1929 and lived all her life on Sydney’s north shore. “When my grandparents came over, my grandmother always brought food — usually oatmeal or Anzac biscuits, shortbread or rock cakes,” recalls Kathryn. “She couldn’t not bring anything and would be quietly offended if we told her not to.”
Kathryn — an enthusiastic home cook and baker, and an aspiring photographer and stylist — credits her grandmother and her mother, Sandra, with kindling her love of food. “I have many recipes handed down from my grandma. After she died, just over three years ago, I found a few notebooks and old recipe books in her kitchen drawers — all the spare space in the books was covered in other recipes she had written down.”
She shares some of Jean’s recipes on her blog, . “Grandma’s pavlova is my base recipe, although I might change it a bit. Last Christmas I made my favourite variation — I substituted rosewater for the vanilla and raspberry vinegar for the white vinegar. I feel very connected to Grandma when I cook, especially if I’m making one of her recipes.”
Serves 4–6, cooking time 1½ hours
- 4 eggwhites
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 300ml thickened cream strawberries, hulled, halved, to serve
- blueberries, to serve
- edible flowers, such as violas and dianthus, to decorate*
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Draw a 20cm-diameter circle on baking paper and place it, circle-side down, on tray.
Using an electric mixer, whisk eggwhites in a clean, dry bowl until firm peaks form. Gradually add caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk until sugar has dissolved and meringue is thick and glossy. Add vinegar and vanilla, and whisk until combined. Sift cornflour over meringue.
Using a large metal spoon or spatula, gently fold cornflour into meringue. Spoon meringue into circle on prepared tray and smooth into a disc. (Keep edges of disc high and don’t smooth out too far.) Reduce oven temperature to 125°C. Bake pavlova for 1½ hours. Turn off oven. Leave pavlova in oven to cool completely. (Do not open oven door until pavlova is completely cooled — it’s best to leave it overnight.)
Using a balloon whisk, whisk cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Top pavlova with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries. Decorate with edible flowers.
*Ensure edible flowers have not been treated with pesticides.