We are delighted to feature the very talented Krista Corbett on our blog this month! We have admired Krista's work from afar via our socials for many months, so it was fantastic to learn a bit more about her. Keep reading to find out more about Krista and her amazing Perfect Pav recipe!
Tell us about your story, how long have you had your blog/business and what inspired you to start?
I have been cooking in Melbourne restaurants and patisseries for the good part of 10 years. I completed my apprenticeship, worked my way up in the kitchen and after honing my savoury skills, I realised the art of the pastry section intrigued me.
Pastry requires acute attention to detail, absolute precision, patience and awareness, and with these skills, refined, even perfect, results are achieved. I always found pastry and baking challenging, and a little intimidating, and that's why I started.
My baking is a reflection of my experience as a pastry and savoury chef, an expression of my ability to balance flavour, texture and unique and interesting ingredients. Victoria has such beautiful regional produce and ingredients available, and using new flavours and native ingredients always inspire me.
Your favourite cooking/baking ingredient, and why it’s your favourite:
This is tough - because there is so many! If I had to choose just one, I'd go with dark chocolate, preferably a single origin 70% or higher. It's versatility and complexity of flavour is incomparable to any other ingredient, and, it doubles as a cheeky snack whilst your working.
Your favourite Petite Ingredient flower, and why it’s your favourite:
I love marigolds. They are vibrant, fragrant, and remind me of warm summer days. They can be used whole or with petals picked off - and the flavour can be citrusy and peppery with subtle anise notes. I also love using fennel pollen during it's short season.
Something you can’t live without?
The hardest worker I know - my Kitchen aid stand mixer.
The best thing about baking?
Sharing the results with some incredible people, and knowing that I have been apart of marking such a special moment in time for someone.
The Perfect Pav
270g eggwhites, aged and at room temperature
500g caster sugar, as fine as possible
Pinch of salt
3 tsp of fresh lemon juice
3 tsp of cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract – I use Heillala
1 large 9” x 3” tall pavlova
- Preheat your oven to 125°C. Line a heavy based baking tray with baking paper – I draw a 9” circle on one side, and then flip over so you have a guide to shape your pav.
- Spread the caster sugar out evenly on a baking tray lined with baking paper, place in the oven at 125°C for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring thoroughly halfway through. Remove from the oven when the sugar is very hot but not melting. You should only just be able to touch it with your fingers.
- Begin whipping your eggwhites on medium speed. They will at first look airy and have large bubbles, then the bubbles will get smaller and begin to form soft – medium peaks. This is when you should start adding your sugar.
- Begin adding the warm sugar very gradually, one tablespoon at a time. You need to incorporate each spoonful before the next one goes in. This should take up to, or more than, 8 - 10 minutes.
- Once you have added all of the sugar, continue whisking until your meringue is lovely and glossy and has formed stiff peaks. Your sugar should be completely dissolved. You should be able to rub a little between your fingers and feel no grains at all.
- Add the cornflour, vanilla and lemon juice, and whisk on slow speed just to incorporate.
- Pile the meringue high onto your prepared baking sheet, then shape into a round (I use a turn table to achieve an even circle). To achieve a decorative edge, use an offset palette knife on a sharp angle to pull the meringue up towards the top edge, quite deeply - these edges soften in the oven a little. Then use the palette knife to smooth the top over.
Stick down the edges of your baking paper with meringue so there’s no chance it will fly up and damage your pavlova’s shape.
- Place your pavlova in your oven at 125°C for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 90°C and bake for a further 100 – 120 minutes.
- Once the pavlova is cooked, turn the oven off and allow it to cool for 8 hours, or preferably overnight, inside of the oven.
- The next day, serve with lashings of double cream, fresh seasonal fruit and Petite Ingredient edible flowers.
- A good pavlova is beautifully white, holds its shape, has a crisp exterior and a marshmallow like texture in the centre. The base should come easily away from the baking paper, and the entire meringue should be incredibly light. That’s what we’re aiming for!
Head over to Instagram and checkout @kristabellaaa to see more of Krista's amazing work