My first attempt at a pavlova base and it’s clear I have some work to do. I tried piping this because I liked the idea of adding a lip to the side to made a sort of bowl. I got a little sloppy with it as you can see, but the worst part is the texture, which is like alligator hide.

My temperatures are too low. A crust didn’t get a chance to form before the drying process started, so when the meringue cooled the soft skin contracted and wrinkled. Ah well, I was curious to try it without pipping it anyway. I like the plump, bulgy look better than the straight sides anyway.

16 thoughts on “Scales!”

  1. I was thinking more concrete fountain/pond look but I see your point re: scales. 🙂

  2. How completely original! I have never heard of an alligator-pavlova before! Of all the good an bad looking pavlovas I have made over the years…i never came up with this look though! Only Joe!

    I tried the piping thing as well…even when it looks good, that upstanding ring always breaks on me when trying to cut into it spreading the whole pavlova all over the place. Which makes me blush and apologise to my guests for at least half an hour non stop. They hate it when i do that!

    You ring looks stable though, because the inside didnt shrink away from the sides. Did it cut well?
    Curious to see what a higher temp will do…i would think it would turn brown?
    Will have to wait and see…

  3. Oh Joe I am completely in love with you. This made my day. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Remember it was called Pavlova after a Russian Ballerina. The idea is to get the base looking like the ruffled white tutu of the aforementioned, not something out of that “Pottery for Beginners” evening class you thought about taking last summer

    Pile the meringue on the parchment paper and swirl away with your palette knife. Then bake. When you come to serve you actually invert the pavlova and pile the cream onto the base. A natural indent will occur and more often than not the lashings of cream and fruit you are about to pile on will cause the meringue crust to break slightly and sink causing a rustic bowl. Swirl on the cream like you are Dolce and Gabbana preparing your model’s tutu for her grand entry on the runway, and then pile on some fruit.

    The charm of a pavlova is its freeform appearance and the rolls and folds of cream that disappear into the rolls and folds of meringue. Where does one begin and the other end???

    God I hope this posting does not sound arrogant – the hick from below the equator laughing at the big US pastry chef. I just so admire your honesty and good humour in showing that even professionals from time to time fail

    You are so my bromance of the week!


    1. Ha! Thanks Rick! That makes me feel better. The one in the oven now is doing a lot better. I’ve never heard of the flipping over step…fascinating. I may just try that. But I appreciate all the support! 😉

      – Joe

  4. This may be a completely Australian home cook adaptation way of making a Pavlova but I was always taught to make a giant tower of meringue and then break the top off to make a bowl for the cream and fruit to be piled as high as possible.

    This technique may have something to do with my Mum’s fear of piping bags…

  5. Joe,

    This is the first time I have every responded to a food blog. The best part of a pavlova are all the points from free forming the pavlova (my siblings and I would break them off when my mom made it, but before she served it much to her dismay – thank goodness for whipping cream). I just use the rubber spatula to get the rough circle and then a soup spoon to create the points. My recipe has me preheating the oven to 350 F and then dropping to 200 F once the pavlova goes in. I cook for about an hour and then turn off the oven (pavlova outside is dry). I then leave it in the oven overnight to cool (door closed).

  6. It begs the question: can you do that again?

    A neighbour swears by this method: Put meringue in 400 F oven, turn off the heat and leave until cool. Results are perfect when she bakes it, I bet it would be a mess if I did it.

  7. In my experience it never really matters what happens with a pavlova, I’ve had a few disasters on humid Auckland days, people always eat them and love them -it’ll be fine 🙂

    1. Hehe…thanks Heather! I’m sure that true. However I’m going to give it another go all the same. I hate to leave a project not having gotten it where I want it. But you’re entirely correct when you point out that guests are never as critical of our preparations as we are. I take great comfort in that! 😉

      – Joe

  8. Joe, you are a real man among men, and a real baker among bakers. Most people would not share a “failure” like you did. Calling it scales is something I never would have thought about. Styrafoam, maybe… but not scales. I love that… scales… hee hee… scales.

    When I bake something that doesn’t turn out as expected I eat it fast, before anyone might see it. Thanks very much for photographing it and sharing with us!

    1. Ha! Thanks Brian. I promise I’m not always so manly about it. I have to take a few steps back and remember that showing failure helps readers learn as much — or more — than showing success. People write in all the time asking me to show more of the things that don’t work out. My pride gets the better of me most of the time, but thanks for the positive reinforcement! 😉

      – Joe

    1. Hi Arthur. It tasted OK, but the texture if the next one was really much better. I realized I didn’t have the full amount of cornstarch in there either, and I know that was a problem because of the humidity here. It make the meringue quite grainy. But thanks for the encouragement!

      – Joe

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