Fresh berry Pavlova
Pavlova is my favourite Australian dessert…or is it a New Zealand dessert? Well it was invented in the 1920’s for Anna Pavlova a Russian ballet dancer who toured both countries hence both countries lay claim to the Pavlova invention but who ever made this first they made one of the most simple and delicious desserts that is still hugely popular to this day.
You can make one large fresh berry Pavlova or individuals as in this recipe and they can be made ahead of time and kept in an airtight container till needed although I make mine on the day and don’t announce its on the menu until its cooked as meringue has one enemy that will ruin your Pavlova making day and that’s humidity.
The finished dish should have a crunchy exterior and a soft marshmallow interior which is complemented with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
I’ve served this in many restaurants and the individual versions are perfect for A La Carte menus or large weddings and when you make a hundred of these all plated with fresh berries and ready to serve they look very impressive!
Try to use the ripest fruit in season anything from passion fruit, strawberry, raspberry, kiwi, pineapple just anything that has enough acidity to cut through the rich cream and sugar base.
If you want a change from whipped cream make a “Crème pâtissière” or pastry cream which will work great or even a thick Greek Yoghurt flavoured with honey.
Serves 6-8 individual portions
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 275 F.
Whip the egg whites first on low speed, then once the whites are foamy increase the speed and slowly pour in the sugar while whipping.
Continue to whip until the whites on high speed until they hold a firm peak when beaters are lifted.
Stir the cornstarch and cream of tartar together and fold this into the meringue by hand, then fold in the vanilla.
Individual- I used a metal ring lightly oiled and piped the mix in then removed the ring.
Bake the Pavlova for about 45 to 60 minutes – it will still seem soft on the outside when warm, but if the meringue does not cool to have a crunchy exterior, you can return the meringue to the oven for an additional 15 to 30 minutes (the outdoor temperature and humidity impacts the bake time).
Cool the pavlova completely on the baking tray.
The pavlova can be baked hours ahead, but should be assembled right before serving.
Top with lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream and fresh fruit.
Family service size
Trace a circle 8-inches across using marker on parchment paper, then flip the paper over onto a baking tray.
Dollop the entire meringue into the centre of the drawn circle and spread using a spatula, creating an upwards “swoosh” from the base to create lines going up.
Bake as above but cook for 60-80 minutes.