Making Berry Pavlova

by Carol Sacks on September 22, 2014

Post image for Making Berry Pavlova

I may have arrived fashionably late to the pavlova party, but I’m turning into the guest who wouldn’t leave!

I was bowled over by the elegant dessert when we were on vacation in France a few months ago. We were the guests at a perfect Sunday supper hosted by Pascale Bonnard, a college friend of Matthew’s. After serving us a hearty, seasonal spread, Pascale, brought out her show-stopping dessert.

The meringue base — slightly crunchy on the outside and almost creamy inside — was topped with a juicy mix of berries, billowy drifts of barely-sweetened whipped cream and more berries.

I devoured my portion and immediately eyed The Bug’s plate to see if there might be a bite or two for me. There wasn’t, of course. She was as taken with the confection as I.

Since we returned (and following the installation of our new range!), The Bug and I have made the ethereal dessert a few times. The first go around, the meringue was close, but it didn’t have a tender center. The second time, I tried a different recipe calling for a lower baking temperature, and didn’t bake it long enough. The outside shell looked perfect; the inside, however, was runny. The third time was the charm.

 

While many of the recipes for preparing the meringue are similar —- same ingredients and virtually the same proportions — the technique varies. This post by Shuna Fish Lydon for Simply Recipes is informative, detailed and was the primer I needed; her recipe is ideal for entertaining a larger group than my crew of three. Deb Perelman of the Smitten Kitchen blog also penned a smart post, references Lydon’s, and her recipe is geared to a smaller group.

My meringue is a variation of Pascale’s, which was developed by Kitchen Aid. It’s also nearly identical to Smitten Kitchen’s. I’ve listed my minor adjustments to that recipe below:

1. I used 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, slightly more than the 1/2 Tablespoon in the recipe, and added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the egg white mixture for richer flavor.

2. I pre-heated the oven at 275 degrees, and turned the oven down to 250 degrees as soon as I put the meringue in the oven.

3. I baked the confection for exactly one hour, checking it at 30 minutes to be sure it wasn’t browning. After one hour, I turned the oven off and left the meringue in the oven for two hours, removing it and carefully placing it on a cake stand. I served the dessert a few hours later.

4. Rather than make a berry sauce, I served the meringue topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. I used 1 cup of heavy cream, adding 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla to the bowl after the cream began to thicken.

5. I used 1 1/2 cups of fresh berries tossed with 1 teaspoon sugar. This amount worked well for Matthew, The Bug and me, but increase the amount if you’re feeding more than 3-4.

Here again are the links to Shuna Fish Lydon’s post on Simply Recipes and Smitten Kitchen’s Mixed Berry Pavlova. The summer may now be behind us, but if berries are available to you, you’ll love this dessert.

8 comments

Lemony Farro with Tomatoes, Corn, Edamame and Cannellini Beans

September 15, 2014
Thumbnail image for Lemony Farro with Tomatoes, Corn, Edamame and Cannellini Beans

We’re having a heat wave, which means dinners these days are mostly of the cold-supper variety: substantial salads augmented by creamy wedges of Fromager d’affinois cheese, a buttery, double-cream brie-like cheese, or cups of ice-cold, garlicky gazpacho. This Chicken Salad with Shelling Beans and Roasted Tomatoes from Los Angeles-based chef Jessica Koslow, is a new [...]

Read the full article →

August in Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen: The Bug and I Help Prepare a Mexican Feast

August 19, 2014
Thumbnail image for August in Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen: The Bug and I Help Prepare a Mexican Feast

When we were in Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago, The Bug and I spent an afternoon in Cathy Barrow’s (AKA Mrs. Wheelbarrow) sunny kitchen, helping her prepare a Mexican feast. Well, we didn’t just help prepare it. We came back in the evening with Matthew and my parents, and devoured it. A succulent, savory [...]

Read the full article →

Sunday at Washington, D.C.’s Eastern Market

August 11, 2014
Thumbnail image for Sunday at Washington, D.C.’s Eastern Market

Established more than 136 years ago, Washington, D.C.’s historic Eastern Market anchors the Capitol Hill community. Farmers from neighboring states sell their produce and flowers under the tents. Local artisans showcase products as diverse as African art and Turkish towels. Inside, Market Lunch serves breakfast and lunch to locals and tourists, who don’t mind standing [...]

Read the full article →

My Summer Vacation, Part II: London

August 5, 2014
Thumbnail image for My Summer Vacation, Part II: London

There is so much to love about London — historic sites and museums, lush and expansive parks, the Thames, and a youthful energy that is intoxicating. But, I had to laugh when I poured through my photos. I snapped just as many shots of food as I did of sites! Most of the food-related photos [...]

Read the full article →

My Summer Vacation, Part I: Paris

July 31, 2014
Thumbnail image for My Summer Vacation, Part I: Paris

It’s hard to imagine more visually-rich locales for a working holiday than London and Paris. I took loads of photos in both cities and decided to lead with Paris. Our days were filled with museum and monument visits, walks through lush gardens and farmers markets, and marvelous meals — with an emphasis on dessert, of [...]

Read the full article →

Copper River Salmon Salad for One

July 12, 2014
Thumbnail image for Copper River Salmon Salad for One

It will come as no surprise that salad is my default dish when it’s dinner-for-one in on a warm summer’s evening. It’s refreshing to eat when the temperature climbs, it’s a great way to use tasty leftover protein and it’s a breeze to prepare when all you crave is a light, but satisfying meal. I [...]

Read the full article →

Asian Steak Salad

June 29, 2014
Thumbnail image for Asian Steak Salad

While I live with carnivores, I don’t crave meat the way they do. Rather than tackle a Flinstone-like slab of beef, I hanker for a salad where thin slices of steak play a supporting role. This boldly-flavored Asian Steak Salad satisfied my craving and earned two thumbs up from the carnivores. I found inspiration from [...]

Read the full article →

June at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market

June 19, 2014
Thumbnail image for June at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market

It feels like the only sound I hear these days is whoosh. The last few weeks have flown by, packed with activity. When life is a little too full, the Farmers Market is where I find my zen. Snapping photos and tucking luscious, aromatic produce and flowers into my bags calms me down. In the [...]

Read the full article →

Bacon, Cheddar and Savoy Cabbage Melt

June 9, 2014
Thumbnail image for Bacon, Cheddar and Savoy Cabbage Melt

On a Friday evening a few weeks ago, we three piled into Matthew’s car and drove the scenic route to Ojai. As The Bug strummed her guitar in the back seat, we headed east through the foothills, where the groves of citrus and avocado trees that hug the hillsides glowed in the warm, early-evening light. [...]

Read the full article →