Pavlova

Pavlova with summer fruit from the Pleasant Hill Farmers' Market

Pavlova with summer fruit from the Pleasant Hill Farmers' Market

A couple nights a week, I cook dinner at our church’s parish house. Last Saturday night, I made Chicken Paillard with fresh peaches from Tyler Florence’s cookbook, Tyler’s Ultimate. This is a pretty simple dish to make, and it gives big flavor and presentation; with pancetta, blue cheese, honey and peaches, you get the salty/sweet combination that’s so satisfying. Plus, a platter filled with sauteed chicken breasts topped with crispy pancetta, crumbled blue cheese and drizzled with vinaigrette is an eye-popper at the table. I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of it!

For dessert, I made Pavlova from one of my favorite cookbooks, Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax. I first learned to make Pavlova in Australia, when I worked as a pastry cook at a hotel in Sydney. Wikipedia says there is debate about whether Pavlova originated in Australia or New Zealand; it is agreed, though, that the dessert was named for a Russian ballerina who was performing in those countries in the 1920s, and the dessert was created in her honor. I saw (and made) lots of Pavlova in Australia, but I don’t think I ever saw it in New Zealand when we lived there for several months after our year and half in Australia. We made Pavlova year round, and I don’t recall it being specific to any holiday period.

Pavlova is a meringue cake topped with sweetened whipped cream and lots of fresh fruit. It’s light, soft, sweet and satisfying. A great summertime treat . . . the fruit for this Pavlova came from the Pleasant Hill Farmers’ market. It’s not a fussy cake – I didn’t have my cake spatula when I put the whipped cream on the cake pictured above, so the finish is pretty “relaxed”; I just used a rubber spatula to spread the cream, and I don’t think the cake presentation suffered one bit. This cake would be very cute to do as little individual Pavlovas – one cake per person. I’ll have to try that some time!

The basic steps to make Pavlova are shown below. Enjoy!

Whip egg whites with sugar, vinegar and vanilla to stiff peak

Whip egg whites with sugar, vinegar and vanilla to stiff peak

Sift cornstarch on top, fold in

Sift cornstarch on top, fold in

Put the meringue on a baking sheet

Transfer the meringue to a baking sheet . . .

Form the meringue into a cake shape

. . . and form into a cake shape

Bake the Pavlova

Bake the Pavlova

Pavlova with Fruit from Pleasant Hill Farmers' Market

Cover the Pavlova with plenty of sweetened whipped cream and top with your favorite fruits

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3 Responses to “Pavlova”

  1. Krista Denton says:

    Yum! I want to learn how to make Pavlova. Absolutely gorgeous & amazing photography.

  2. Cathy says:

    Pavlova is so easy to make – I might do individual pavlovas for an upcoming “fancy” dinner party for 10 in September.

  3. [...] For last Sunday’s dinner I made the cover recipe, Stufato di Vitello e Verdure (Veal Soup with Vegetables). The recipe is generously shared, along with many others, on the magazine’s website. The soup was hearty, flavorful and easy to make – even easier since I left out the last few steps of separating out the meat and vegetables, removing the broth to another pot, melting butter in the original pot and stirring flour into that, then adding the broth back to thicken and, finally, adding the meat and vegetables back to the thickened broth – phew! I was too lazy (and hungry), but I don’t think I suffered for it – in fact, it was so good I made a 2.5 times batch on Monday night for a group of 9 at the parish house. [...]

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