Monday, August 5, 2013

Individual Pavlovas with Mixed Berries and Whipped Cream adapted from Martha Stewart and Ina Garten

Anna Pavlova 
The Pavlova is a luscious concoction of whipped cream and meringue topped with any number of combinations of fruits—passion fruit, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or kiwis. The kiwi gives some hint to the origin of this over-the-top dessert.  When the ballerina Anna Pavlova toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926, the Pavlova was created in her honor. When you look at a finished Pavlova, you can see the resemblance: the meringue looks like a tutu.  Both Australia and New Zealand lay claim to its invention and the dispute over which country is truly the mother of the Pavlova rages on.  I prefer not to rage over dessert—especially not one this rich and satisfying. When Andrew decided to make these for a recent dinner party, he went to two authorities—Martha Stewart and Ina Garten.  Martha provided the method of creating single serving pavlovas while Andrew followed Ina’s handling of the berries.  One large pavlova is spectacular when presented at the table.  But once sliced, it loses a lot of its looks.  The meringue cracks apart and the whole thing looks like one big mess on a plate.  Making them individually gives you a perfect presentation.

Finished Meringues should be crispy
on the outside, chewy on the inside. 
If you’ve never made a meringue, don’t be intimidated.  A few pointers and you’re on your way.  A meringue relies on egg whites reaching their maximum volume.  The first step is to make sure your mixing bowl and whisk are clean and free of any grease.  Since only the whites are used, the eggs need to be separated.  Separating eggs while they are cold makes the process easier. ( We keep the egg yolks in Ziplocs in the freezer—they’re ideal for making ice cream.Once you’ve got the egg whites you need, let them come to room temperature before using them.  Allow about 30 minutes.  Andrew likes using superfine castor sugar in making meringues because it dissolves faster into the egg whites.  If you don’t have castor sugar, you can make your own by putting one cup of sugar into the food processor until it’s very fine in--about 30 to 60 seconds.  You can make your Pavlova meringues up to several days in advance of making the final dessert.   Simply store them in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.  Here’s the recipe, first for the meringue via Martha and next for the fruit topping via Ina. 

Recipe for Individual Pavlovas with whipped cream and berries
Makes 4 Individual Pavlovas.  Andrew tripled this recipe to make a dozen with no difficulty at all.  Time: 4 ½ hours.  Active Time: 45 minutes

First, make the meringues:
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Draw four 4-inch circles or one 8-inch circle onto a sheet of parchment paper. Transfer parchment, traced side down, to a baking sheet.
Whisk egg whites and a pinch of salt with a mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With machine running, add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff, glossy peaks form. Sprinkle in vinegar, cornstarch, and vanilla; whisk until just combined.

With a rubber spatula, mound meringue onto parchment in center of circle or circles. Evenly spread meringue toward edges. Transfer to oven, and immediately reduce temperature to 200 degrees. Bake until meringue lifts off parchment easily, about 1 1/2 hours.

Turn off oven. Let meringue cool completely in oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Once meringue is cool and completely dry, garnish with whipped cream and top with the berry mixture, recipe follows
Make the berry filling, raspberry sauce and sweetened whipped cream
This is for 4 servings.  It can be doubled or tripled easily. 

Sweetened Whipped Cream, recipe follows
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
Triple Raspberry Sauce, recipe follows

Combine the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of raspberry sauce, or enough to coat the berries lightly.

To make the Sweetened Whipped Cream:

1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don't overbeat!

Yield: 1 cup

To make the Triple Raspberry Sauce:

1 half-pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup seedless raspberry jam (12-ounce jar)
1 tablespoon framboise liqueur

Place the raspberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. 

Andrew goes an extra mile here by using a fine sieve to remove the raspberry seeds.  Chill.

Yield: 2 cups

Assemble the Pavlovas:
Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.


  1. Monday night football already? May as well surrender and make something we can both enjoy! He, the television. Me, the Pavlova! (I'm sure he will partake).. Thanks Monte!

    1. Ana, these are splendid but I would reserve them for when you have Edward's full attention! MM