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.