Pavlova is a delightful, crispy meringue with a gooey centre, covered in seasonable berries and fruit on top of luscious amounts of freshly whipped cream.
Yes, for those that know Pavlovas, I know Pavlovas are already gluten-free, but here is a dessert that is 100% safe to eat and 200% amazingly delicious! Once you make this dessert, you will never look back. It is an all-Australian/New Zealand classical dessert and our family’s #1 choice for our “special occasion” dessert whether it is for a birthday, wedding anniversary or Christmas celebration, it never fails to disappoint.
Notice how I shared the heritage of this dessert between Australia and New Zealand? Well, after living in Melbourne for many years, I found out how divided Australians and New Zealanders are about claiming who invented pavlova. History is a bit murky about who really invented it first, but after some research, it appears that both countries had chefs create and name this meringue-based dessert after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova’s tutu while she was touring both countries in 1926.
The origins of this recipe actually arrived in Australia and New Zealand on the back of an American cornflour box. According to food specialists: Dr Andrew Paul Wood and Annabelle Utrecht, the true pavlova has roots in Germany and America, plus one of the very first pavlova-like recipes found by them, is a meringue, cream and fruit torte called the Spanische Windtorte, loved by the Austrian Habsburg Imperial family in the 18th century.
Even so, both Australia and New Zealand deserve all the credit for keeping this dessert alive and kicking with its endless array of toppings and magnificent displays.
Normally, I make my pavlova a big affair with a huge portion cascading with fresh, seasonable fruits, but for this Christmas theme, I made mini pavlovas to create this festive wreath with an assortment of berries and interesting fruits like pomegranate, passionfruit pulp and fresh figs, plus some with chocolate sauce & almonds.
If you plan to make this wreath this Christmas, I really hope to see your creations. Please post them online or send them to me privately at email@example.com.
Several important tips for successful pavlovas
1. Separating the eggs is much easier when they are cold, however once separated, the eggs whites should be brought to room temperature for the most volume.
2. To avoid ruining your egg whites with the yolks while separating, a handy tip is to have 3 bowls ready. One to separate over and let the whites fall into the bowl. The second bowl to place the egg yolks in and the third to gather all the egg whites for whisking.
3. Before whisking, make sure to wipe the whisking bowl and whisking attachments with white wine vinegar. This ensures that they are absolutely clean of oil or dirt to guarantee perfect peaks of whisked egg white.
4. Use the smallest crystals of caster sugar. The finer the better as it will dissolve easier when whisked into the egg whites.
5. Cornflour is added to ensure that the sugar does not absorb moisture from the air which can make your pavlova go soft and sticky after baking.
6. After the pavlovas have finished baking, it is important to leave them to cool and dry in the oven. This ensures a crispy, dry exterior and a marshmallow-y, tasty centre.
7. Baked pavlovas can be stored in a switched off oven overnight with the oven door shut or once completely cool, stored in an airtight container.
8. Leftover yolks can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The spare egg yolks can be used to make lemon curd, mayonnaise, custards etc.
For the pavlova:
- 8 egg whites (either from your frozen supply or from 10 fresh, medium eggs)
- 400g caster sugar, fine crystals
- 1 tablespoon corn flour
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 baking trays lined with baking paper
For the topping:
Step by Step Instructions
1. Draw out Twelve “10 cm circles” in total on the two baking papers using a lid or small plate.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F
3. Separate the eggs. (see important tips mentioned earlier)
4. Using either a handheld whisk or a bench top mixer, start whisking the whites at a low speed for 3 minutes.
6. Lower the speed to medium and gradually add the sugar until all the sugar granules have disappeared. Check this by rubbing a little mixture between your thumb and finger. At this stage, the whites will start to become glossy and stiff.
7. Stop whisking. Sprinkle the sifted corn flour and white vinegar over the whites.
10. Using a small spatula, spread out the mixture gently to the edge of each circle and form peaks and crevices all over the top.
22. Decorate the topped pavlovas with the fresh fruit of your choice.
For the chocolate sauce topping:
60g chocolate chips or pieces, melted gently
10g butter, melted gently
- Melt the chocolate chip and butter gently in a Bain Marie (a bowl over simmering water).
- Mix gently and top the pavlovas. Serve the remainder in a small bowl.
For the raspberry sauce topping:
60g frozen or fresh raspberries
30g caster sugar
- Heat the raspberries and sugar gently, stirring often.
- Remove from the heat once the raspberries have broken down and turned into a runny sauce. Make sure the sauce does not catch and burn.
- Pour in a bowl and serve as a topping for the pavlovas.
Freeze egg whites for a maximum of two months. Gradually add egg whites to a freezer container when a recipe only asks for egg yolks. Make a note of how many egg whites are being added to the freezer. If unsure of quantity, measure two tablespoons of whites for each large egg white. Defrost egg whites overnight before preparing pavlovas.