Pavlova is standard dessert fare at many Australian gatherings. The classic Pavlova is a dessert consisting of a crisp, light meringue base topped with fruit and cream. Most often the centre of the meringue is of a ‘marshmallowy’ consistency. However Pavlova can be stacked in layers, mini Pavlovas, or lightly baked and rolled with a filling.
The meringue can be flavoured with nuts, spices, chocolate, cocoa or coffee powder and filled with custard, mousse, Bavarian cream, mascarpone, fruit curd or yogurt. For my first attempt at making this famous Australian dessert, I made plain meringue with lemon curd filling, topped with fresh strawberries and chopped pistachios.
For the Pavolva
4 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup / 225g / superfine sugar
3 teaspoons / 8g cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
For the Passion Fruit Curd
150ml strained passion fruit pulp
2 tablespoons of passion fruit seeds
20ml / 1 metric tablespoon lemon juice
170g / 3/4 cup unsalted butter, chopped
200g / 9/10 cup caster sugar
3 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks
For the Chantilly Cream
300ml / 1 1/4 cups / 10 fl oz full fat cream
16g / 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
5ml / 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Pavlova Assembly
2 green kiwi fruit + 2 gold kiwi fruit, sliced
1/3 cup shredded coconut, toasted
- Preheat the oven 135°C / 275°F and prepare a large flat tray by lining it with non-stick baking paper.
- Beat egg whites until they are foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat egg whites till soft peaks form.
- Continue beating while gradually adding sugar 1 tablespoon at a time till meringue is thick and glossy.
- Rub a little meringue between fingers. If still gritty with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar dissolves.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and gently fold in the sifted cornstarch followed by the vanilla.
- Add the vinegar and pile the mixture onto the baking paper lined flat tray into a 20cm/ 8-inch circle.
- Hollow out the centre a little and bake the pavlova for about 1 1/4 hours. Cool in oven with door ajar.
- If your oven runs hot and the pavlova is colouring, simply lower the temperature by 5 or 10 degrees.
- Store the cooled pavlova in an air-tight container. Meanwhile prepare the passion fruit curd filling.
- For passion fruit curd, in a medium saucepan place passion fruit pulp, lemon juice, butter and sugar.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat till the butter has melted and the sugar is completely dissolved.
- In a bowl place eggs and additional egg yolks and whisk eggs until combined. Whisk the eggs slowly.
- Pour whisked eggs into the passion fruit mixture. It is important to keep whisking while you do this.
- Strain the passion fruit curd mixture through a sieve back into the saucepan to remove any ‘eggy’ bits.
- Add passion fruit seeds and continue to cook over a low to medium heat until mixture has thickened.
- It should coat the back of a spoon. Once mixture has cooled, place in a sterilized jar and store in fridge.
- The curd will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge. For the Chantilly cream, combine all ingredients.
- Using a hand whisk or electric whisk, beat the whipping cream in a stainless steel, glass or china bowl.
- It is whipped properly when it is still soft and billowy but holds its shape when the whisk is withdrawn.
- Once the cream is whipped, cover it and store in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the pavlova.
- Remove baking paper from pavlova and place on a serving tray. Spread the Chantilly cream over top.
- Drizzle with as much of the curd as you like, decorate with kiwi fruit and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
- Cut the pavlova into wedges and serve with extra passion fruit curd if desired. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
- Pavlova cannot be frozen. Assemble right before serving and if you have any leftovers, store in fridge.
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