Thursday, May 23, 2013

Berry Pavlova

I've always heard about Pavlova and seen beautiful pictures of this dessert but have never gotten a chance to try it out. Pavlova is basically a meringue with a crisp crust on the outside and is pillowy soft inside. It's often topped with whipped cream and fruits.

According to wikipedia, Pavlova is named after Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballerina. Although the dessert has a Russian name, it is believed to have originated from New Zealand (or Australia) when the ballerina was there during or after one of her tours to those countries in the 1920s. The dessert is apparently a popular dish and is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals in New Zealand and Australia.

With some egg whites sitting in my fridge, I was contemplating between making friand, french macaron  or pavlova. I decided to go with Pavlova coz it seemed to be the easiest to make and I have some fresh berries at home that I can incorporate to the dessert. Plus, I'm always curious about this dessert.

I googled for a recipe and went with one I found on making slight changes. As I fear that the dessert will be too sweet, I reduced the sugar a little. The outcome was perfect, not overly sweet and light. The meringue is indeed crisp on the outside and soft in the inside. The berries paired nicely and they added some freshness to the dessert.  This is a dessert you could definitely eat more without feeling too guilty! I brought the dessert over to my neighbor's for dinner and I think they loved it! =)  Berries are in season now and this make a perfect summery dessert!

Here's the recipe with my changes. Note to self, hull the strawberries next time =)!

*Serves 8-10

  • 4 oz Egg White (About 4 Large egg whites)
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tsp Corn Flour
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream (Add 1/2 Cup - 1 Cup more if you want more cream)
  • 1/2 Cup - 3/4 Cup Blueberries
  • 8-10 Oz Strawberries, Halved
Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9" circle on the parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in sugar, about 1 tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until egg white is thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice and corn flour. 

Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper.Working from the center and spread mixture toward the outside edge, making a slight indentation in the middle and building the edge. Bake for 1 hour then cool on a wire rack. **See Note**

In a small bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form and set aside. Place the meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream and then top it with the berries.

June's Notes: Sugar needs to be incorporated well into the meringue if not your meringue will "weep" when it bakes if the sugar is not entirely dissolved prior to baking. 

I made 2 smaller meringue instead of one big one. I placed both meringue on the same baking sheet, making them about 5 inches in diameter each with about 2-3 inches gap between the two. The pavlova will spread a little once it bakes. Since my meringue is slightly smaller, I baked it for about 50 minutes instead. 

A lot of the other recipes I saw asked for the meringue to cool down in the oven with the oven door ajar after it has baked. I read that by letting the meringue cool slowly in the oven as opposed to letting it cool at room temperature helps so that the meringue does not deflate too much.  As my meringue cooled down, the center deflated a little and created a little crater. I thought it was perfect as I could fill the "bowl" with whipped cream and fruits.  I don't know if the pavlova is supposed to deflate and crack at all once cooled or it should retain its shape right after baking.  Maybe next time, I'll cool it in the oven and compare the results.  If you're not a big fan of strawberries and/or blueberries, feel free to top it off with raspberries, kiwi, peaches, etc. 

 If you're a Pavlova connoisseur, tell me....what's a perfect Pavlova like??


Simply June 

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