This meringue was named for the famed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926. Until this day both countries claim to be the inventors of this fabulous dessert. It is light enough to fit even into a ballerina’s diet. It is crisp and crunchy on the outside, and soft and gooey on the inside, topped with fluffy whipped cream and garnished with fresh mixed berries, slices of banana and passion fruit pulp. The meringue can be made a night before and left to cool down in the oven overnight. It will last for up to 5 days when stored at room temperature.
Serve this Pavlova Meringue with a refreshingly sweet Moscatel from Malaga to make this dessert feel even more special.
Ingredients: egg whites, caster (superfine) sugar, cornstarch, white-wine vinegar, pure vanilla extract, salt, heavy cream, Greek yogurt, confectioners’ (icing sugar) sugar, passion fruits, raspberry, banana.
It is important that the eggs are fresh and brought to room temperature, as this will help the egg whites to become more voluminous when beaten.
Three bowl method: Using an egg separator, separate one egg white into a small bowl, drop the yolk into a different bowl and transfer the egg white into a large bowl. Repeat with the rest of the eggs as it will help to prevent the egg yolk from getting into the whites.
Make sure that your mixing bowl and whisk are spotlessly clean and free of grease. Never use a plastic bowl, as grease can hide in scratches in the surface, even if the bowl looks clean.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt starting with the low speed and gradually increasing to medium high until the beaters leave stiff glossy peaks when you pull them away from the bowl. Take care not to over whisk the whites at this stage.
Continue whisking while adding superfine (caster) sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating the mixture between each additional spoonful. Once all the sugar is added, whisk for another six minutes or until the mixture is stiff and glossy. The meringue will start turning from fluffy to thick, and will have a pearly sheen.
Sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula in a figure-eight motion, keeping a light touch to conserve the air bubbles.
Preheat the oven to 300° F. Using an 8-inch bowl as a guide, trace the perimeter of the bowl onto a sheet of parchment paper. Transfer the parchment paper, pencil side down, to a baking sheet. Set aside.
Mound the meringue in the center of the eight-inch circle. Using a spatula, spread the meringue evenly out towards the edges.
Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 250° F. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the meringue is crisp on the outside and has taken on the palest hint of gold. Leave the tray closed in the oven to cool completely. Small cracks will appear.
To make the topping, whip together the cream, yogurt and remaining confectioner’s sugar until thick but not stiff.
Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the pulp. When buying the passion fruit, look for the most wrinkled!!! , purple skinned fruit. It indicates that it is ripe.
Swirl the cream mixture over the top of the meringue and top with fresh raspberries, sliced banana and passion fruit pulp.
Pavlova Meringue with Raspberries, Banana & Passion Fruit
recipe detailsServes 6
To make the Meringue
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
For the Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ (icing sugar) sugar
- 4 large, ripe, wrinkly passion fruits (1/3 cup of pulp)
- 1 ½ cups raspberry
- ½ banana, sliced
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 banana, sliced
- Combination of your favorite mixed berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or blackberries
KITCHEN TIP 1 It’s easier to break cold eggs. Once whites are separated, let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, cover and refrigerate egg yolks for another use. If you are in a rush, put the bowl with egg whites over a large bowl with warm water for 10 minutes. An egg separator is an inexpensive kitchen tool, which helps to minimize the spread of any bacteria from the shell. I purchased mine at Sur la Table.
KITCHEN TIP 2 In the absence of caster sugar, use a food processor or spice mill to grind regular granulated sugar to a desired consistency.
KITCHEN TIP 3
- Make sure that your mixing bowl and whisk are spotlessly clean and free of grease. Never use a plastic bowl, as grease can hide in scratches in the surface, even if the bowl looks clean.
- It is important that the eggs are fresh and brought to room temperature, as this will help the egg whites to become more voluminous when beaten. Carefully separate the egg whites from the yolks while still cold, trying not to contaminate the clean whites while breaking the eggs. Once separated, cover the egg whites and let them come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).
- When the mixture is thick and glossy the sugar should be completely dissolved. To test, simply rub a little of the mixture between your fingers. If it feels gritty continue to whisk.
- Pavlova will last for up to 5 days when stored at room temperature.
Wine Pairing Jorge Ordonez & Co. No 2 Victoria Moscatel, Malaga, Spain 2011
For this Pavlova recipe, I researched Martha Stewart (The Martha Stewart Show, May Spring 2007, courtesy of Geoffrey Rush), Donna Hay, Issue 65, What to Cook & How to Cook it Fresh & Easy by Jane Hornby, Ina Gartner’s recipe, and Joy of Baking website, as well as video tutorial on how to separate egg whites from Better Homes and Gardens.