How many of you sewers out there were thinking I had gotten my hands on a copy of Cake Pattern’s newest release, the Pavlova wrap top and skirt, before it officially hits the market? Sorry, no such luck. But I did make you this tasty edible version of the Australian dessert that starts with a light meringue shell, gets filled with airy, sweetened whipped cream, and then topped with your choice of seasonal fresh fruits.
It’s also a celebratory dessert to commemorate my 1 year blogging anniversary! In one year’s time, I have written 45 posts, gathered 98 (wordpress + google reader) followers, received 176 comments, and gotten 8458 hits. That’s not too bad! I’ll be announcing a giveaway tomorrow in honor of the special event, so stay tuned! But until then, feast your eyes on this lovely and refreshing dessert :)
I even made some mini ones to share. Do you think they look like funny little faces? This recipe looks complicated but it is as simple as can be. My sister first introduced me to it several years ago and we have been making it regularly since. If you have a few basic ingredients and an electric mixer, you can wow your friends and loved ones with this sure-to-please confection.
I have used strawberries, kiwi, and blueberries here because they happened to come in my produce box for the week, but you can use your favorite complimenting fruits — peaches, nectarines, raspberries, blackberries, etc.
So, first you are going to beat your room temperature egg whites until they are stiff and glossy like so. Can you see my reflection in these?
The bottom row has been smoothed.
If you choose to make the cupcakes, one batch makes about 2 dozen regular size cupcakes. This time around I just used a spoon to fill the paper cups then smoothed the tops with a wet metal tablespoon (this is a great kitchen trick for meringue). If I am being fancy, I will use my piping tools to make mini meringue nests on parchment and forego the cupcake papers and tin.
For the large pie, trace a 9″ circle onto parchment paper, flip the paper over and place it on a baking tray, then spread the meringue on top. Use the spoon to spread it into the circle and smooth the top with the wet spoon.
I spooned the whipped cream on top for the full-size Pavlova, but for the mini ones I piped the whipped cream on with a pastry bag and large closed star tip. As for the fruit, you can make it as decorative (or not) as you would like. It will taste great either way!
Serves 8 as pie or 24 cupcakes (you can’t eat just 1!)
1/2 cup egg whites, at room temperature (from about 4 eggs)
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
2 kiwi fruits, peeled and thinly sliced or 1 cup of another ripe fruit, such as peaches or nectarines
10 strawberries, green parts trimmed off, thinly sliced or other berries, such as raspberries or blackberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), whip the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in a clean, dry bowl until foamy. Add the granulated sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff, smooth and glossy, about 8 minutes more. On a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit a sheet pan, use a pencil to draw or trace a circle 9-inches in diameter. Line the sheet pan with the parchment, pencil side down (you should still be able to see the circle). Spoon the egg whites into the circle, using the back of the spoon to smooth the top and sides of the disk (use a wet spoon for best results). Bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake until the meringue has puffed up and cracked on the top and the surface is lightly browned to the color of cafe au lait, about 45 minutes more. Turn off the oven, prop the oven door open, and let the Pavlova cool in the oven at least 30 minutes, to room temperature. This ensures a gradual cooling, which protects the delicate meringue.
Whip the cream and brown sugar together until stiff. Spoon it in the center of the cooled Pavlova and spread out to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Arrange the slices of kiwi around the edge. Arrange the slices of strawberry in the middle. To serve, slice into wedges with a serrated knife.
Recipe by Gale Gand, courtesy of the Food Network.