Just the thing for an Australia Day celebration is this cute twist on the traditional pav - a pavlova in the shape of an echidna, a recipe from my book Mini Chef - Cooking with Kids.
- egg whites - 4
- caster sugar - 1 cup
- white vinegar - 1 teaspoon
- vanilla essence - 1 teaspoon
- cornflour - 1 tablespoon
- thickened cream (i.e. with gelatine) - 400ml - 500ml, whipped to frim peaks
- fresh summer stone fruit - 1 kg (apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums) or fruits in season such as apples
- toasted slivered almonds - 3 tablespoons
- lemon juice - freshly squeezed (approx 2 lemons)
- red seedless grape - 1 (for the eyes)
Preheat oven to low (120C/100C fan-forced/250F/. Line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
In a mixing bowl, whisk egg whites with half the sugar until stiff and shiny. Fold in remaining sugar, vinegar, vanilla and cornflour. Spoon mixture onto prepared tray to make an oval shape, giving it a slightly elongated shape at one end (this is the echidna's face).
Bake for one hour, turn off oven, leaving pavlova in for another half hour. Remove and leave to cool completely.
Now for the fun part: wash the fruit and cut into halves. Remove seeds. Cut flesh into matchsticks (batons) about 5mm thick. Toss batons in a little lemon juice to stop them from turning brown. Cover pavlova with the stiffly whipped cream. Place fruit sticks and slivered almonds upright into the cream to resemble echidna spines.
Cut a red seedless grape in half for the eyes.