Unlike its distant cousins macarons which have gained so much attention in the culinary world, pavlova- also a meringue based dessert, remains rather less known. The dessert was believed to be created by a hotel chef in the 1920s in honor of the beautiful Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova during one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand (thanks Wikipedia!). A pavlova is made with a French meringue which is cooked in the oven for a long time, about an hour, at a very low temperature to let it dry out. The outer shell of the meringue should be crisp, while the interior has a fluffy, marshmallowy texture. The cooled meringue is then topped with whipped cream and fruit right before being served. Nothing beats a good pavlova in springtime – light and airy, topped with seaonal berries, it feels a lot “healthier” than it really is!
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (can be substituted with white vinegar)
Pinch of salt
3/4 cups sugar
1) Preheat oven to 120 C.
2) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw 4 4-inch circles on the parchment paper.
3) With an electric mixer set to medium, whisk together the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt for 3 minutes. Let the mixer keep running and add in the sugar, a spoonful at a time. Stop when the meringue is thick and can form stiff (around 6 minutes in total).
4) Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Start from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly, and leave a slight depression in the center.
5) Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. (Halfway through baking rotate the baking sheets so the meringues will cook as evenly as possible.)
6) Allow to cool in the oven before trying to remove them from the parchment paper (otherwise they may stick!).
Rosewater Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 drop of red coloring
a very small amount of rose water
1) Add the cream to the bowl of an electric mixer.
2) Beat on high speed until it begins to thicken.
3) While the mixer is still running gradually add the sugar and coloring.
4) Once the whipped cream is ready turn off the mixer.
5) Add rosewater in small amount. Taste and see if you think the whipped cream has enough rose flavor, if not repeat the process. (Rose water can be quite potent so you don’t want to overdo it.)
6) Assemble the dessert by putting the whipped cream on top of the Pavlova, add strawberry jam and berries for garnishing.