For the love of Pavlova
This winter has been full of reasons for Pavlova. We welcomed colleagues from New Zealand and of course, that meant pavlova was in order. In an effort towards creativity at another occasion I served it non-traditionally - with the same components, but assembled in a bowl. The next day, a meringue base wasn’t even necessary for that, and the curd and Italian Meringue was delicious with berries. Here are the recipes that are essentials to many desserts. I do the Italian meringue for the top to keep the dish mainly dairy free.
Be creative, try new things and don’t be intimidated by the fact that you need to use a thermometer to make the Italian Meringue!
Happy Easter friends.
It’s the weekend! Easter weekend to be exact. If you’re hosting the crew and want to do something different, perhaps this will answer your need, wants and desires….
COMPONENTS of PAVLOVA:
-a meringue base
-a lemon and/or orange curd
-fresh berries - for this size of pavlova, 1lb fresh raspberries and 2-3lbs sliced fresh strawberries
-Italian meringue or whipped cream
Pavlova base - 16inches - to serve 12-20 people
6 egg whites (room temperature is great)
1 1/4 cup white sugar (325g) Note: I use berry sugar, which is extra fine grain compared to regular granulated sugar, with the hope that it dissolves quicker.
2 tsp corn starch
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 325F
1. Place egg whites into the bowl of your mixer and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.
2. Measure or weigh out the sugar. Begin adding, 1 TBS at a time, the sugar to the egg whites, beating at least 20 seconds after each addition. This is trying on your patience, but well worth it - the volume of the egg whites will be so much more if you slowly add the sugar as directed!
3. Whisk together the cream of tartar and cornstarch, adding it and the lemon juice to the meringue once all the sugar has been incorporated. The volume will be large, in a 6qt mixer it will be to the top!
4. I like a large round pavlova, but you can do two smaller ones, or a rectangle one, it really depends on what you will be serving and displaying the final product on so perhaps think about those details first. Place parchment on a round pizza stone (that will be perfect for a large round pavlova).
5. Using a rubber spatula, begin forming your round base of meringue on the parchment. Build a higher edge that can hold in your toppings later.
6. Once the meringue is all in place, put the base into the oven. Immediately turn down the temperature to 275F and bake it for about an hour, or until starting to be crispy and show some signs of cracking but still slightly springy in the thicker parts of the base.
7. Remove the pavlova from the oven, or turn the oven off and let it cool as the oven cools. The base can be prepared several days in advance, as long as it is well covered and stored in dry conditions. It also freezes well in an air-tight container.
I like to use an orange curd for the base of my pavlova toppings, it is delicious, balanced, and lately I always seem to have oranges that are still good but the skins dry up quickly in our dry conditions. Perfect for this recipe.
Orange Curd - can be made 3 days ahead
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp orange zest (and 2 more tsp to add after straining)
1/3 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed after zesting)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
a pinch of fine salt
Place the yolks and sugar in a saucepan and beat well until lighter yellow in color.
Add remaining ingredients and place on medium-low heat, stirring at all times with a flat-bottomed rubber spatula.
Don’t allow to boil, cook until about the thickness that it coats a spoon.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add the extra zest, and allow to cool. Covering the surface with plastic wrap will prevent a film forming. Yes, place the plastic directly onto the curd. Cover and refrigerate up to three days.
Caramelized Italian Meringue
Our family has folks with dairy allergies, so where typically you’d serve the pavlova with the curd on the bottom, fresh berries on top, and whipped cream on top of that, I make this delish meringue. It is like a dream on the palate, and lovely with added orange zest. You’ll need a candy thermometer, or just use your eyes and once the sugar starts to turn brown, it is ready.
3/4 cup (175g) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
4 egg whites
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 Tbs white granulated sugar
2 tsp orange zest
Bring the water and first amount of sugar to a boil in a small saucepan on medium heat. Stir a bit at first only. If you have a candy thermometer, use it and bring the sugar to 248F. If you don’t have one, letting the Italian meringue be a caramelized Italian meringue is what we want anyhow so you don’t need to worry about tracking the temp. Allow the sugar to turn a light golden brown.
Have a 1 cup glass measure ready, beside the stove, as once the sugar starts to caramelize, you will pour the sugar syrup into the glass measure.
in the bowl of your mixer, place the egg whites and whip to soft peaks. Add the 2T of sugar in two additions, allowing 30 seconds of mixing on medium high between the two doses, and then add the cream of tartar and zest, and whip to stiff peaks.
By now your sugar may be ready. With the mixer on low speed, add the syrup into the whites. It will coat the glass measuring cup, so get as much as you possibly can into the mixer. Immediately turn onto medium speed until the meringue is cooled, about 2 minutes. You don’t want to curdle the egg whites, so turning the whip to speed as efficiently as possible is key.
You can make this in advance a day or two also. Refrigerate in an airtight container. It may begin to weep out some of the sugar but that’s okay.
You can use it as is on top of the fresh berries, or go all out, and make a lemon curd (same as above but with lemon zest and juice) and last minute, combine the lemon curd with the Italian meringue and top the berries with a lovely lemon-Italian meringue cloud!
Assembly of the Pavlova
You have all your components, dinner has concluded, and you have a few minutes while your guests enjoy their time at the table together. Allowing it to sit, fully assembled about 20 minutes is great - it allows the fillings to soften the meringue a little, and will give your guests time to ooh and ahh over your creation!
Place the meringue base onto your serving platter. Be sure to remove the parchment.
With a rubber spatula, spread all of the orange curd onto the base, right to the edges.
Generously fill the meringue with fresh berries.
Top with your lovely Italian meringue.
Traditionally, passion fruit flesh was a classic finishing component of this dish but they are hard to come by so use them if you’ve got them! Scoop out a few on top of the meringue.
To serve, cut into wedges.
If there are leftovers, refrigerate and eat the next day. It may be a bit soggy, but so good!