This stunning Pavlova with mixed berries is my new favorite summer dessert. And, if you are in the states, and feeling patriotic, it happens to be a fantastic dessert for the fourth of July. To be honest, many people don’t actually know what a Pavlova as it’s often found in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. A Pavlova is simply a meringue dessert, but with a delicate crisp crust and soft, light inside, usually topped with whipped cream and berries. This seasonal beauty, loaded with fresh berries, is gluten-free and easy to prepare, what’s not to love?
Where This Famous Dessert Got Its Name:
The late Russian ballerina, for whom the Pavlova dessert was named, is said to have been “ethereal, delicate and slightly controversial“. Her namesake, this simple confection, with a straightforward list of ingredients, results in a light and airy dessert, symbolic of the ballerina herself. But Pavlovas are not without its fair share of controversy themselves, as both New Zealand and Australia take credit for its invention and creation.
The dessert is believed to have been created in honor the dancer either during, or after, one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the early 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many ears. Pavlova is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine in both Australia and New Zealand. And this simple yet elegant recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals in both countries.
The Difference Between Meringue and a Pavlova:
To clarify, a meringue is a mixture of whisked egg whites and sugar and a pavlova is actually a type of meringue. And when made properly, Pavlovas have a signature marshmallow-like center. They have cornstarch included within mixture that helps give the middle its soft texture. Pavlovas are typically cooked at a higher temperature for a shorter time in contrast to other meringue type desserts.
Storing and Serving Pavlovas:
Here’s the great part, you can bake the Pavlova the day before you plan to serve it, just hold off on assembling it. To store a cooked pavlova, place in an airtight container at room temperature. But do not refrigerate it, that will destroy it. A pavlova with mixed berries such as this one, should be assembled with the whipped cream and berries right before service to avoid it from becoming too soft. For holiday prep, my suggestion is to simply bake off your Pavlova in the morning and pull it all together later for an easy, hassle-free dessert, low-fat dessert everyone will love.
- 4 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup cup strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1vcup blackberries
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Step 2 With a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar in 2 additions, beating for 30 seconds between, then continue beating on high speed until glossy stiff peaks form, about 2 more minutes. The peaks should be stiff enough that you can hold the whisk upright and the peaks won’t move. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 1 more minute. The peaks should still be very stiff. If not, keep on mixing on high speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cream of tartar and cornstarch.
- Step 3 Spread the pavlova mixture into a 9-inch circle. Use a rubber tip spatula to flatten the top and smooth the sides. Make sure the edges are relatively tall and there is a nice dip in the center.
- Step 4 Place the Pavlova in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 200 degrees F. Bake until the Pavlova is firm and dry, about 90 minutes total. Rotate the baking sheet if you notice some spots browning. Turn the oven off and let the Pavlova cool inside the oven.
- Step 5 Once the Pavlova is cool, place the Pavlova on a serving platter. Using a serving spoon, gently tap the top making a shallow nest for the filling.
- Step 6 Please the heavy cream in the bowl of kitchen mixer, such as a KitchenAid, fitted with a whist attachment, and whip, on high until soft peaks have formed. Reduce the speed to low and add the sugar and vanilla. Mix to blend.
- Step 7 To serve, spoon the whipped cream over the Pavlova and hop with the mixed berries. Serve at once.
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