Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. The dessert was created in honour of the dancer during a tour to Australia and New Zealand in the early 1920s. There is still an argument going on to this day about who created the dish, whether it was an Australian or a Chef from New Zealand, what isn’t in dispute is the popularity of the Pavlova in both countries.
The meringue should have a crisp crust and soft, light marshmallow texture inside, that is then topped with fruit and whipped cream.
The meringue can be made a day or two in advance and kept in an air-tight container away from humidity, that would tend to make the meringue go soft. Adding a stabilizer to the cream is going to keep your Pavlova looking as perfect from the moment you finish it and for the following day.
There are a few ways to stabilize fresh cream:
Gelatin – This is most commonly used by professional chefs and It usually has the longest shelf life. The whipped cream will keep its velocity longest. Gelatin isn’t vegetarian so caution should be observed.
Cornstarch – works well. Simple and easy to use by adding it to the whipped cream after adding the sugar.
Confectioners Sugar/Icing Sugar – what is happening here is using the starch in the icing sugar which is usually cornstarch.
Milk Powder – Again it takes advantage of the starch in the milk powder which again is usually cornstarch.
Pudding Mix – It’s the cornstarch in the Pudding Mix that helps to stabilize the cream
Chocolate Although the cream will be stabilized to hold its shape and velocity better, it is still a wet substance going onto the meringue base and therefore will soak in and eventually after a very little while make the base very soggy. That’s why I suggest lining the base with Chocolate to give a screen between the cream and meringue base.
Berry PavlovaCourse: DessertCuisine: AustralianDifficulty: Medium
A crisp exterior meringue with a soft centre lined with dark chocolate and topped with fresh whipped cream and fresh summer berries, a dessert to die for.
For the Meringue
4 large egg whites
225 g caster sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
50 g Dark Chocolate
For the Cream
350 ml whipping cream
3 tbsp icing sugar will stabilise the cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
500 g mixed fruit strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and red currants, or a combination of your choice
- Heat the oven to 140C (120C fan)/gas 1 and line a baking tray with baking parchment paper.
- For the Meringue
- Separate the eggs and place the whites in a grease-free clean glass or metal bowl. (See video for separating egg whites)
- The bowl must be absolutely spotless, You could even rub a wedge of lemon around the bowl to make sure it is grease-free.
- Use the egg yolks to make some Lemon Curd
- Whisk the egg whites until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and whip to soft peaks.
- Whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, until thick and shiny.
- Spoon the meringue on to the baking tray in a roughly 23cm circle, building up the sides so as to leave a well in the middle
- Put the tray in the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 120C (100C fan)/gas low.
- Bake for 75 minutes, you are looking for the meringue to be crisp on top but slightly soft in the middle when gently prodded,
- turn the oven off and leave the meringue to cool completely in the oven. Could be up to 2 to 3 hours
- Once the meringue has cooled completely, place the chocolate into a clean bowl and place over a pan of simmering water.
- Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
- Gently stir the chocolate until it has completely melted, do not overheat, set aside to cool slightly
- Once the chocolate has cooled but still liquid, brush the base of the meringue case using a pastry brush to cover the base with chocolate, be gentle as the meringue is going to be fragile. Allow the chocolate to set.
- For the Cream
- Whip the cream to soft peaks, then whisk in the icing sugar 1 spoon at a time and the vanilla essence,
- Spoon into the meringue shell right to the top.
- Putting it all together
- Cut the strawberries in half, mix all the fruit together
- Pile on top of the cream, Lightly dust with icing sugar (optional).
- Serve and enjoy.