Sunday, March 15, 2009

In Love With Berries & Cream Pavlova

See? I wasn't kidding before when I said that I had a parade of desserts coming up. I am trying to make up for those 6 or so pounds that I lost when I was sick. Kidding! I would love if they stayed away--I've got to go shopping for a bathing suit soon and am dreading it. Can't say I'm really trying very hard, though.

All kidding aside, my apologies if this post turns into a sappy love ode to pavlova, but you have to understand just how strongly I feel about this dessert. I hesitated before writing this, because it is probably going to come as close to labeling me as a glutton as I ever want to be; however, you need to know the facts.

This may possibly be the best dessert you'll ever eat.

What is so great about it? You ask. Well, how does a generous base of crisp sugary meringue with a soft marshmallow interior sound? Oh, no that is not all. It is then mounded--no skimping allowed--with velvety whipped cream, topped with fresh berries and lavishly sauced with a vibrant, tangy red raspberry sauce. It's magnificent. It's decadent. It's impossible to stop eating.

This is the kind of dessert that I could fantasize about climbing in to and rolling around. I wish it came in the size of a swimming pool.
Honestly? Two of us ate this whole thing, and I licked my plate. It was amazing.

I'm realizing I have a thing for fresh berries and I'm convinced it comes from my deprived childhood. Living in the Yukon, a frozen northern Canadian province, it was too cold to grow much in the way of berries, and fruit was ridiculously expensive since it had to get trucked half way up the Alaska Highway. Berries have always been like the ultimate luxury and still are to me. If I can enjoy them bathed in cream and presented on meringue, I'm a really happy girl.

A few notes on the recipe:

  • I don't sweeten my whipped cream. The meringue is so sweet, it would be overkill, even for a girl with a sweet tooth like me.
  • Really, almost any fruit it good on the pavlova. I slice bananas on top of Noah's because he doesn't like strawberries or raspberries (I know, unbelievable. How ironic is it that I longed for fresh berries as a child and he turns up his nose at them.) Nigella dollops passionfruit and lychees on hers.
  • The meringue base can keep for up to two days in an airtight container. Mine stayed nice and crisp, although I'm not sure if I would trust in in hot July weather.
  • Nigella notes that the meringue can be made ahead and frozen for up to one month. It would never last that long in my freezer, but it's cool to know it works.

Berries & Cream Pavlova
adapted from Nigella Lawson's 'Prodigious Pavlova'


4 egg whites

250g sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla


500 ml whipping cream (you'll have leftover for Irish coffees)

about 2 cups of fresh berries or fruit of your choice

Raspberry Coulis:
150 g raspberries (frozen work great)
25 g icing sugar

Preheat oven to 375F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and using a 9 inch cake tin and a pencil, trace a circle onto the parchment.
Whisk the egg whites until satiny peaks form, then whisk in the sugar, a tablespoonful at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny.

Sprinkle the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla over the egg white, and fold in lightly with a metal spoon.

Mound the meringue on to the baking parchment within the circle and, using a spatula, flatten the top and smooth the sides.
Put in oven and reduce heat to 325F. Cook for about 50 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave to cool completely. ( I leave mine for several hours)

Store the meringue in an airtight container until ready to serve.
When you are ready to assemble and serve the pavlova, invert the cooled meringue disc onto a large plate or a stand and peel off the baking parchment. Whip the cream until thickened but still soft, and pile onto the meringue, spreading it to the edges in a swirly fashion. Dot the top with fresh berries or prepared fruit.

Puree the raspberries and icing sugar in a blender until smooth, (this can be done ahead of time, too) then drizzle the colorful sauce over the top and sides of the pavlova. Serve immediately.


Maria said...

I am in love. Fabulous job, the pavloa is stunning! I love the fresh berries. They are so colorful. I have never made a pavlova, I have to do something about that and soon! Thanks for sharing. And I am loving your dessert posts.

Katie @ goodLife {eats} said...

That looks heavenly. I have never had a Pavlova before. I think I need to remedy that!

abigail @ Paper and Cake said...

a dessert parade?!

i LOVE a parade... especially one as sweet as this one.

Elyse said...

What a gorgeous dessert. So elegant yet delicious! No wonder you're so in love! What's not to love?!

Victoria Hayden said...

I can't wait to try this!! The dessert is beautiful and the berries look delicious!! Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy reading and looking at your blog!


Hilary said...

Oh, I love pavlova and yours look sooo good. I also like it with passionfruit on top. Unfortunately I'm hopeless with meringue.

Culinary Wannabe said...

I have a similar recipe that has been bookmarked for ages now, but I just haven't gotten around to making. You give a convincing argument to get off my bum and do so! And it's just too pretty!

Aimée said...

Hi Maria- Could it be you have a sweet tooth, too!? Thank you for your lovely comment.

Hi Katie- WHAT?? Make one now before the heat of summer sets in and you have humidity issues.

Hi Abigail- No, you're sweet!

Hi Elyse- Exactly how I feel!

Hi Victoria- Thanks for reading.

Hi Hilary- Practice, my dear, practice.

Hi Culinarywannabe- I'll keep my eye out for it. It's an ideal spring dessert.

Emeline said...

Yuuuuummmm Pavlova! It's our Go-To summer dessert around here. It's so freakin' delicious.

Lucy said...

Your pavlova looks amaazing! I, like you, am in deep love with pavlova. I can't wait for the summer here when fresh berries arrive so we can have so much pavlova :)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE pavlova. This recipe is very similar to the a "family favorite" that I use. My favorite way to eat pavlova is with a selection of citrus fruits and cream. Yum Yum yum :)

Ingrid_3Bs said...

I can not wait until the day I'm not saying several times a day to a fellow food blogger that I have not tasted something. Yes, I'm a self deprived dope and have never had pavlova.

I think your love for this dessert came through your photos as they are gorgeous!

kari and kijsa said...

Oh my...we are drooling from the photos alone..we can only imagine how heavenly this is!!
kari & kijsa

Justine said...

I have a new found love Pavlova! My friend recently made it for a dinner party, and though hers didn't look quite as elegant it so was so delicious!

kickpleat said...

Oooh, can I have a slice? I LOVE pavlova and haven't made it in years. This looks so lovely.

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

Aimee, this looks fantastic.
I always always always wanted to make Pavlova. How can I not with all that good stuff?
A question: I have a “cake collection” event on my blog, with a cookbook giveaway… will you be interested to link to your cake? Details here:
Many thanks,

missweb said...

Aimee, you're killing me! I just got a Kitchen Aid and after the success with the cheese cake, how can I not try this one?

Lucy..♥ said...

WOW!! Certainly a great dessert!

Sarah said...

This looks quite tasty!! Nigella really likes her Pavlovas (almost as much as her trifles!) so I'm sure it's a great recipe!

(Also, isn't Yukon a territory...)

Aimée said...

Hi Emeline- Gotta love those go-to's and you can beat the fresh summer fruit as a topping.

Hi Lucy- Someone as nuts about pavlova as I am!

Hi Michelle- Love the citrus plan.

Hi Ingrid- Oh, you have to make this soon! Get out the eggbeater.

Hi Kari & Kijsa- Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Justine- It's far more important to have it taste good, right?

Hi Kickpleat- You can have the whole thing! You're celebrating, remember??

Hi Nurit- Thanks for the invite!!

Hi Missweb- Death by dessert? Impossible. Congrats on the Kitchen Aid.

Hi Lucy- Thanks!

Hi Sarah- Quite right. It's always been a territory...

Cheryl Arkison said...

Pavlova is a dessert for us goddesses.
I like to make them in individual sizes - but that is dangerous!

Lo said...

Schaum Torte, as pavlova is called in my family, IS heaven. And yours looks absolutely wonderful.

It's tradition to make this for Easter at our house... and trust me, I look forward to it all year long!

Emily said...

Fabulous! Such a gorgeous dessert. Keep them coming. When can I buy your desserts cookbook??

I've never made pavlova before, but it sounds sooo good. I love meringue, I love whipped cream, I love berries. This is perfect for spring!

Susan @ SGCC said...

That Pavlova is stunning! I've made Nigella's recipe several times before and mine have never looked as lovely as yours. Perfect!

Anonymous said...

I can definitely relate with your love for pavlova. I can still remember the great textures the last time I had it.

Deborah said...

I've actually never had pavlova - what a shame! I should change that soon!

Talita said...

Wow! How scrumptious this cake looks!! I'm in love too! I had to copy the recipe! You have a lovely blog!

Anonymous said...

I adore pavlova, and Nigella's recipe is my favorite.

Anonymous said...

pavlova is one of my favourites. yours is gorgeous, and so's your cakestand!

Aimée said...

Hi Cheryl- Instead you do amazing things with pavlova and ice cream!

Hi Lo- Sounds like an ideal Easter tradition!

Hi Emily- I'm sure you would do some amazing twist on pavlova, like add booze or something...

Hi StickyGooey- Why thank you!

HI Jude- Well said, the textures are the best part.

Hi Deb- Once berry season is upon us you will have no excuse!

Hi Talitia- Thanks for stopping by!!

Hi Savour- Welcome to UtHC. Oh,and Nigella rocks!

Hi Contradictoire- Thanks, it's my favorite.

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