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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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Please note, we are only able to answer questions selected for publication and aren't able to enter into personal correspondence.

Latest Queries

  • Pavlova Questions

    Hi! I have successfully been able to cook 4 -8 small, individual pavlovas at 120c for 40 mins, then turning the oven off and leaving door ajar for 1 hour. They are nice and crunchy on the outside and marshmallowy on the inside. My problem is, that when I try to cook and oven full of individual pavlovas (3 oven racks full - approx. 18 pavlovas) they are not cooking properly. The crust does not set at all, and they go chewy and sticky. The marshmallow bit seems to be ok, its just that there's no crunch. Are you able to give me some tips on how to fix this? Do I need to adjust the temperature or cooking time? Many thanks for your help. Rosina.    

    Can you freeze Nigella's Cappucino Pavlova? Jennyi

    From the nigella team:

    There are a few possible reasons for a larger number of mini pavlovas no baking properly. First if the oven is very full then you will probably need to adjust the baking time slightly. Your oven will have to work slightly harder to keep the temperature at the set level because the oven door will be open longer when you put the baking sheets in the oven (so the internal tempertaure of the oven will drop when the door is open) and there is a larger number of items in the oven to heat up. Also if it is a conventional oven then the temperature of each shelf will vary slightly and you should swap around/rotate the baking sheets dring baking. Typically a full oven can take up to 15 percent longer to cook when full, but this can vary according to the oven and so an only be taken as a rough guideline.

    We suspect also that as there are 3 layers of baking sheets in the oven the hot air in the oven is not circulating properly and this will also cause the meringues not to cook properly (regardless of whether is it a convection oven or a regularl oven). Make sure that air can circulate up and down the sides and the back of the oven. You may also like to try Nigella's Mini Pavlovas recipe (from Domestic Goddess and on the Nigella website). This makes 18 meringues on 3 baking sheets. To help the baking process Nigella preheats the oven to 180c (350F) first and then turns it down to 150c (300F) once the meringues are put into the oven.

    We would prefer not to freeze the Cappucino Pavlova (from Nigellissima and on the Nigella website) as there is a risk that the meringe turns sticky once it has thawed. However the meringue can be made up to 2 days ahead and be kept (unfulled) in an airtight container.

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