Christmas Food

5 pavlova hacks that will help you win at Christmas dessert

By Anita Lyons
We all love a pavlova at Christmas, because frankly, it would un-Australian not to.
But if you've never made one before or you're worried about how to get the timing right - we understand that it can be a daunting task.
There are timings to think about, oven temperatures, fear of burning the meringue or sometimes, you just run out of creative ways to make it look good.
Well, the geniuses at Mum Central want to make your life a whole lot easier (and just that little bit more delicious) with some incredible hacks that will get you delivering the world's best pav!
Mmm pavlova.... (Source: Supplied/Mum Central)*
Belinda Jennings, the founder of Mum Central, sat down with Now to Love to share her very best hacks for making the perfect pavlova at Christmas time.
"It's my go to dish," Belinda says, "it's easy and inexpensive. I just have to go to Woolies, pick up a pre-made base and all I have to do is whip the cream and put it on top and decide what goes with it."
"It's the last thing that people eat at the dessert table. They're not going to remember the salad, they're going to remember the pavlova."
As a mum-of-two boys, seven and nine, Belinda is always looking for the easiest and quickest way to prepare these delicious desserts, so she's compiled a list of the best hacks to help save you time, money and deliver the star of the Chrissy table!
The traditional pavlova can be flipped on its head! (Source: Supplied/Mum Central)

1. You don't have to make the meringue base yourself.

If you're pressed for time or don't have the baker's touch, buying a pre-made base is the perfect way to get started.
"This is a top hack," Belinda says. "You can pick up a whole range of ready-made pavlova bases and shells of varying sizes."
"There are small bases, big bases and really beautiful vanilla flavoured ones and others with bits and pieces in them. If you're having a dinner party, there are individual mini shells that you can serve to people individually."
If you're having a dinner party, individual serves is the perfect way to use the traditional pavlova. (Source: Supplied/Mum's Central)

2. Don't always think it has to have fruit on top.

Get creative with your pavlova. While berries and summer fruits are a staple on the pavlova diet, you can be as loud and creative as you like!
"This is great for kids birthday parties too," Belinda says. "We have one [pavlova] where there are freckles, hundreds and thousands, chocolate and meringues, and we did food colouring in the cream to make it pink."
This pavlova is also great for a kid's birthday party too! (Source: Supplied/Mum Central)

3. Make waves in the cream to stop the fruit juice flowing.

If you are going to go the more traditional way of using fresh fruit on your pav, you may find that the fruit juices slide down the side of the base and make it really soggy.
"If you use a spatula or the edge of a spoon, you can create waves on the cream that's going to catch all the juices so it sits there and stays in the pavlova," Belinda says.
WATCH NEXT: How to make the perfect pavlova...from scratch! Story continues after video...

4. Don't stress if the meringue has crumbled. You can make a spectacular Eton Mess!

Eton Mess is a perfect idea for the bases that have crumbled under the pressure.
"If you get a base that has broken or crushed in the packet, just crumble it up and mix it in with whipped cream and fruits," Belinda says.
"And do not heavily mix it together, just loosely mix it and crumble it into the bowls with some fruit on the top and you've created Eton Mess! It makes you look fancy pants as well!"
And one more tip: If you have left over crumbly bits of meringue from opening the package, tip them into a bowl and add them to the top of your pavlova for added crunch! YUMMO!
Eton Mess is the perfect dessert if your pav base has been crushed! (Source: Australian Women's Weekly)

5. The dessert itself is a hack

The best thing about a pav is that it really is a hack in itself.
"It only takes a few minutes to whip your cream," Belinda says. "You don't have to heat up the oven, or bake anything."
"It's not like baking a cake where you mix it, bake it, wait for it to cool and then ice it. You just decide what goes on top"
It's also easier to take the pavlova base in on a plate and prepare everything when you get there.
"This keeps it fresh and it makes you look like Martha Stewart!" Belinda says. "It wows them!"
Wanting to try a different take on the delicious pavlova? Try a Nutella pav! (Source: Supplied/Mum Central)

RECIPE: Traditional Fruit Pavlova

Woolworths Pavlova Base 1kg
Woolworths Thickened Cream 600ml
¼ cup passionfruit pulp (fresh or tinned)
3 large bananas, sliced
2 mangos, sliced
1 punnet blueberries
3 kiwi fruit, sliced
3 punnets of strawberries, quartered or halved
3 nectarines, sliced
Mint leaves to garnish
Flaked chocolate to garnish
Place the pavlova on the serving plate or board.
Using an electric mixer, whip the cream at a medium to high speed until stiff peaks form.
Spread the top of the pavlova generously with the whipped cream. Using a spoon, dot the cream with passionfruit pulp.
Top the cream with all that beautiful fruit. Layer the heavier pieces first (mango, banana) and build up to the lighter, smaller berries.
Top with flaked chocolate and mint leaves. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Mum Central

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