Pavlova

A fresh, light, fruity, surprisingly simple dessert.

The perfect Pavlova has a slightly crunchy outer shell and a soft, moist, melt in your mouth marshmallow-like center. I have just come from the farmers market with the first ripe strawberries of the season and the Pavlova is cooking now.

A basic Pavlova is one large meringue or individual meringue shells– and then the fun begins. You can pile on whipped cream, add ice cream, put a layer in the middle and pile on fruit. I love to add a combination of fresh berries, but when they are not available, a compote made from frozen fruit is delicious. Back when Gourmet Magazine was a foodie bible, they suggested drizzling melted chocolate onto a Pavlova. You can be imaginative. I find that you can reduce the sugar without ruining the effect of the meringue.

Pavlova, is a staple in New Zealand and Australia. It was created in the 1920’s for ballerina Anna Pavlova, who craved a dessert which would not weigh her down. As with any dessert which is nearly a century old, there is debate about the ideal recipe. Foodies from Ina Garten to Martha Stewart share their recipes for the ‘best’ Pavlova.

All Pavlova recipes include egg whites, sugar, vinegar and cream of tartar or lemon juice and cornstarch – although there are some substitutions. In addition, you can add salt and vanilla. The meringue can be made a few days in advance and kept in an airtight container, which makes it an ideal dessert for entertaining. At dessert time, you assemble it and serve.

Martha’ Stewart’s Favorite Pavlova recipe is attributed to Geoffrey Rush and it is simple.

Ingredients

4 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, whipped

Optional: 10 passion fruits, 4 bananas, Mixed berries – such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, boysenberries, or blackberries.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Using an 8-inch bowl as a guide, trace the perimeter of the bowl onto a sheet of parchment paper. (Ginny buys 8” parchment rounds for $4.23 for 24.) Transfer parchment paper, pencil side down, to a baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt together until glossy peaks form. With mixer running, add sugar in three additions, beating until meringue is stiff and glossy. Sprinkle in cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla; gently fold to combine.
  3. Mound the meringue in the center of the 8-inch circle. Using a spatula, evenly spread meringue out towards the edges. Transfer baking sheet to oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  4. Turn off oven and let meringue cool completely in oven. When meringue is cool and completely dry, top with whipped cream and desired fruits.
    Recipe from Martha Stewart. Image from www.marthastewart.com

Ina Garten’s ‘best’ Pavlova

Ingredients:

The Meringue

Pinch of Kosher salt
4 eggs whites at room temp
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sweetened whipped cream

½ pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
½ pint fresh blueberries
Triple raspberry sauce (recipe follows)
1 cup cold, heavy cream
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 half-pint fresh raspberries
½ cup sugar
1 cup seedless raspberry jam (12 oz.)
1 Tablespoon framboise liqueur

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F.
  2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side. (This way you won’t get a pencil mark on the meringue.) 9” parchment rounds, $6.59 for 24.
  3. Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
  5. Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Combine the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of raspberry sauce, or enough to coat the berries lightly. Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.
  6. Sweetened Whipped Cream:
  7. Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don’t overbeat!

Yield: 1 cup

Triple Raspberry Sauce:

Place the raspberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

Recipe from Ina Garten and the Food Network. Image from Ina Garten and The Food Network

Strawberry Pavlova from Nigella Lawson and The New York Times

Meringue:

4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 ¼ cups superfine sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
A few drops vanilla extract

Topping:

1-pound strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
½ teaspoon high-quality vanilla extract
1 teaspoon high-quality balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons superfine sugar
2 cups heavy cream

Directions

  1. To prepare meringue: heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and draw a circle on the paper using an 8- or 9- inch cake pan as a guide. Flip the parchment over so the pencil marking is facing down (this ensures that the pencil won’t transfer to the meringue). In bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg whites and salt. Begin beating at low speed, slowly increasing to high. Continue until satiny peaks begin to form; gradually beat in sugar a tablespoon at a time until meringue is stiff and shiny. (Ginny’s parchment rounds)
  2. Sprinkle in cornstarch, white-wine vinegar and vanilla, and fold in gently. Mound onto parchment within circle, and shape into a disk, flattening top and smoothing sides. Place in oven, and immediately reduce heat to 300 degrees. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn off heat, and allow meringue to cool completely in oven.
  3. To prepare topping: in a mixing bowl, combine strawberries, vanilla, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  4. To serve, carefully peel off parchment and place meringue on a platter or cake stand. Gently crack the top with the back of a soup spoon to make a shallow nest for the whipped cream and berries. Whip cream until it is thick enough to hold peaks, and spoon it evenly over meringue. Cover cream with strawberries, allowing a small amount of their liquid to dribble onto cream. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Nigella Lawson and The New York Times. Image from Craig Lee for the New York Times

Martha Stewart’s Favorite Easy, Mini Pavlovas

For a fun presentation, give guests individual Pavlovas and let them add toppings.

Ingredients:

4 large egg whites, room temperature
Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1-pint blueberries
Zest of 1 lemon

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees with racks in the upper and lower third. Using a 3-inch bowl or round cutter, trace 6 circles on each of 2 sheets of parchment paper. Transfer each sheet of paper to a baking sheet tracing-side down. (Ginny’s parchment rounds)
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and a pinch of salt on medium-high speed until soft, glossy peaks form. With mixer running, add granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat meringue on high until stiff and glossy, about 5 minutes more. Sprinkle in cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla; gently fold to combine.
  3. Using two spoons, scoop a mound of meringue in the center of each of the circles. Use the back of one spoon to create an indentation in the center of each mound. Transfer baking sheets to oven. Bake until firm and dry to the touch but not browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn off oven and let meringues cool for 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Whisk cream and confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Top meringues with a dollop of whipped cream and a spoonful of blueberries. Sprinkle lemon zest over berries. Serve immediately.

Martha Stewart’s Favorite Easy, Mini Pavlovas.

Image by Bryan Gardner and www.marthstewart.com
Header image attribution: Copyright: https://www.123rf.com/profile_teresaterra

 

 

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