F1 Food Challenge – Pavlova

Three races into the F1 2022 season and it’s the one we’ve all (I have, at least) been waiting for: Australia. This is particularly close to my heart as I am from Aus, and recently been missing it more than usual. On top of this, I spent six months in Melbourne a few years ago, and properly fell in love with the city, so I was unsurprisingly very excited for this race. Danny Ric being my favourite driver is just the cherry on top (and honestly, I was quite pleased with his performance today, especially compared to the last few races of 2022).

There was never much doubt that I’d make a pavlova for this race. As much as I love Aus, they’ve hardly got a world-renowned cuisine (except for the classic stereotype of a ‘shrimp on the barbie’ which I hate hearing) but pavlova immediately came to mind, as a great classic Aussie dish. I’ll mention here that I’m generally a bit of a pavlova purist: the toppings should be strawberry, kiwi fruit, and passion fruit. However, in the spirit of my love for Daniel Ricciardo, and McLaren more generally, I decided to forfeit tradition and go for an orange and blue topping. My first choices were mango, passion fruit, nectarines, and blueberries: this was before I found out McLaren’s colour is known in the F1 world as papaya. I therefore made the (financially not great) decision to buy a papaya to add to my collection of toppings. As a result, there was no room for the nectarines, but I’m sure I’ll find something else to do with them — or even just eat them as is.

I wouldn’t say the papaya was the most flavourful of the toppings, but it definitely made the whole dish feel a bit fancier. Mixed in with the other toppings, the freshly whipped cream, and the sweet and crunchy meringue, they certainly weren’t that noticeable, but the overall effect was sweet, refreshing, and delicious. Another touch which worked really nicely was blitzing up some lime infused dried mango (my favourite snack from Tesco at the moment) and sprinkling that on top. The zesty character this brought to it went so well with the creamier, richer flavours. Entirely optional but I would strongly recommend!

After a very rambling introduction (sorry, I hate it when food blogs do this!) onto the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 350mL double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar (I accidentally used caster sugar, and it worked just as well)
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 papaya
  • 2 passionfruit
  • handful of blueberries
  • handful of blitzed dried mango

Note: the last five ingredients can be substituted with any other fruit you’d prefer. As mentioned above, strawberries, kiwi fruits, and passion fruit are strongly recommended but you do you…

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees (130 if using a fan oven). Trace the outline of a dinner plate on baking paper.
  2. With an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. My preferred method of checking this was to hold the bowl upside down above my head — if it falls out its not done yet, if it stays in place then you’re good.
  3. Mix the caster sugar in, in small batches (I used a tablespoon to do this). Continue whisking until the mixture is glossy.
  4. Whisk the vinegar, cornflour, and vanilla extract into the egg mixture. Once combined, pour this into the pre-drawn circle, on a baking tray.
  5. Bake in the oven for an hour. Once done, turn the oven off and leave the meringue to cool completely before removing from the oven (I did this overnight, but that was probably overkill).
  6. Whip the double cream and icing sugar together, and prepare your fruit (I cut it into thin slices).
  7. Spread the whipped cream on the meringue, then decorate with the fruit however you want. Enjoy!

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