If you could find heaven on Earth, it would be in a Pavlova. Light-as-air meringue, a cloud of whipped cream, and perfectly ripe fruit form this exquisite melt-in-your-mouth experience. It is truly decadent, but somehow still light; sweet, and refreshing. The light crunch of the meringue, the burst of fresh fruit, and the airiness of the whipped cream is a delight on the tastebuds.
This dessert is believed to have been created for the famed ballerina, Anna Pavlova, during her tour of New Zealand and Australia in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years.
The first time I tried it was many years ago in middle school. My best friend’s mum made the most incredible raspberry pavlova and it had become a favourite dessert of mine since that very first bite. I still remember how amazing it tasted!
I wanted to try making my own for quite a while, but the task was intimidating. However, since Mother’s Day is on its way, I have all the ingredients handy, and I have enough time on my hands, I decided to give it a try.
This is my creation: Blueberry pavlova with almond chantilly cream, homemade lemon curd, fresh rosemary, pistacho, bee pollen, edible flowers (you can buy them here), and gold flakes that I brought home from Copenhagen.
It came out perfectly. The texture was on point (pun intentional) and the flavours were incredible. The best part was seeing my mum’s reaction!
I’m sharing my exact recipes below so you can make your own. A few tips that I recommend reading before starting:
Make your meringue base the night before. You want to keep it in your oven overnight as it cools in order to ensure that there is no moisture. Otherwise, your meringue fail, meaning that they will crack and collapse, or they will remain sticky rather than crispy. When removing meringue from parchment paper, gently use a metal or plastic spatula. The edges are fragile and using your fingers will most likely break the crust. Use fresh egg whites, straight from whole eggs, for your meringue. Old egg whites and whites from cartons have a tendency not to form peaks. Save the egg yolks for the lemon curd. Cold eggs work best. You can read a useful article about why here — and I can confirm the findings through my own testing. If your meringue won’t peak, it could be because: you need to beat them more you overbeat them the eggs are old there is some yolk there is oil/grease on your equipment you added too much sugar too quickly (only add a little bit at a time, otherwise it will break the egg’s bonds, leaving you with a goopy mess). Use superfine sugar for the meringue. It will dissolve quicker, lessening the risk of overbeating your meringue. You can easily make your own by processing granulated sugar in a food processor for about a minute, until it becomes almost a powder. Use cold whipping cream for your chantilly cream. Be sure not to overwhisk. Use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment for the meringue and the chantilly cream. If you have neither and are planning to whisk by hand, store the bowl you want to use in your freezer for a few hours/overnight before using. Use a regular hand whisk when making the lemon curd, not an electric one. Don’t stop mixing your lemon curd as it is cooking — you will get scrambled eggs and it will be unusable. Pavlovas should be eaten the day they are assembled. The meringue tends to dissolve if you decide to eat it the next day. Use a whipped cream stabilizer if you are assembling several hours before consuming, particularly if the ambient temperature is warm. This will stop it from liquifying. Place edible flowers right before consuming, otherwise they will wilt.
It sounds complicated, but it’s a lot simpler once you try it!
4 large egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar (DIY: process granulated sugar in a food processor)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Make sure your oven rack is in the middle of your oven. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form (highly recommend using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with whisk attachment at high speed), about 5 minutes. Add sugar, a few spoonfuls at a time, beating for 15-20 seconds in between. Continue beating on high speed until glossy stiff peaks form, about 2 more minutes. Peaks should be stiff enough that they don’t move when whisk is help upright. Add vanilla extract and beat for 1 more minute. Peaks should still be stiff. Using a spatula, fold in cream of tartar and cornstarch. Carefully spread meringue into an 8-9 inch circle. Make sure there is a dip in the middle and the edges are taller (like a bowl). The edge of mine was about 5-6 cm high, while the center was about 4-5 mm thick Place meringue in the oven. Within one minute of closing the door, reduce the heat to 200 F. Bake for about an hour and a half. Do not open the oven door, unless the meringue is browning (it should not). If it is browning, quickly rotate your tray. Turn oven off and let the meringue cool in the oven. Highly recommend keeping it there overnight if you are baking this in the evening, or for at least 8 hours if you are baking in the morning. This will ensure that no humidity will ruin the meringue’s crispiness. Once completely cooled, top meringue with chantilly cream, fresh fruits, lemon curd, and garnishes. Slice and serve – pavlovas should be eaten the day they are assembled. Enjoy!
ALMOND CHANTILLY CREAM
2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 packet whipped cream stabilizer (optional but highly recommended)
In a large bowl, whisk cream until it is thick enough that it does not collapse when you lift whisk. Highly recommend using a hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment, on high speed. If you are using a whipped cream stabilizing powder, add it before you start whisking. Add rest of ingredients and continue to whisk for an extra minute or two. Enjoy!
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Lemon juice from 3 lemons
Lemon zest from 3 lemons
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and softened to room temp
Fill bottom pot of double boiler with about 6 cm of water. Using high heat, bring water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium-low heat and keep water at a simmer. Place all ingredients except butter into the top pot of double boiler. Whisk until completely blended, then continue to whisk until mixture becomes thick, resembling hollandaise sauce, about 10 minutes. If curd hasn’t thickened, turn up the heat to medium, while whisking continuously. Remove pan from heat. Add butter and continue to whisk until it is completely melted and incorporated. Transfer to a jar or bowl and immediately place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd — this will prevent a skin from forming. The curd will thicken some more as it cools down. Once completely cooled, plastic wrap can be removed and curd can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days. Enjoy! #OttawaFoodBlog #EggYolkRecipe #OttawaHomeCook #HomemadePavlova #OttawaFitnessBlogger