Last Christmas my sister-in-law (a Kiwi) introduced me to a wonderful New Zealand tradition: Christmas Pavlova.
I've made about 15 since last Christmas, and they are hit every... single... time. I haven't met anyone who doesn't like this dessert. You kind of look at it and think, "It's pretty, but what's the big deal?" Then, you taste the layers of amazing flavors and your life changes forever. It's also a great dish to serve any gluten-free guests.
It's not hard to make, but it can't be rushed, so make it a day ahead. That's actually the best part of the recipe. The meringue keeps wonderfully wrapped air-tight in saran wrap. Many of you who have seen the Instagram pics have requested the recipe, so here goes.
- 6 egg whites at room temperature (best if the eggs aren't super fresh)
- a pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. corn starch
- 1 tsp. vinegar
1. Heat oven to 355 degrees.
2. Place your room-temperature egg whites in an electric mixer. Add salt and, using the wire whisk attachment, beat until stiff. This is what it should look like.
3. SLOWLY add the sugar. When I say "slowly, " I mean you add a tiny bit and then let it beat and dissolve in the egg whites. I timed it one day and I added the cup and half of sugar over 8 minutes. This step ensures that the sugar isn't gritty in the mixture. You will know you are doing this right then the whites develop a beautiful sheen.
DO NOT turn off the mixer during this process. You will need to carefully scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula while it's running after you add the sugar each time. Once again, this helps everything to incorporate properly.
Once all the sugar has been added, set a timer for 10 minutes and let your mixer do the work. Beat on high for 10 minutes.
5. While the mixer is mixing, line a cookie sheet with parchment. Using a pencil and a plate, draw a circle on the center of the sheet.
6. After your 10 minutes are up, keep the mixer running and add vinegar and corn starch.
7. Using a large spoon, drop dollops of meringue onto the circle. Form a circle of meringue, make swirls with the spoon. Do not flatten and spread. I usually stay just a bit inside the circle because it will slightly spread while baking.
8. Bake at 355 degrees for 5 minutes. Then, turn the oven down to 265 degrees and bake for 1 hour. I like to set my oven cook time function so the oven turns off automatically.
IMPORTANT: Do not open the oven while it is baking or even right after. You want the meringue to cool very slowly. Usually, I let it cool completely in the oven over night. Or at least several hours.
9. Wrap the meringue with several layers of saran wrap. I usually keep the meringue on the parchment and wrap the whole thing.
For the topping:
- Heavy Cream
- fresh berries or frozen berries (both taste delicious, but fresh is my preference)
- Chocolate curls
11. Make fresh whipped cream by whipping heavy cream and a few tablespoons of sugar of in the mixer. Spoon a thick layer of whipped cream on the meringue.
12. Arrange berries on top of the whipped cream and then chocolate curls.
Now display and then enjoy! I think they will serve pavlova in Heaven.
A side note: Your meringue might crack or turn a pinkish tint. Have no fear. Cover it with whipped cream and fruit and just enjoy it. It will still taste wonderful and no one will see the cracks.