I’ve been wanting to make a Pavlova for over a year now but I’ve never gotten around to doing it. Maybe because I thought I would mess it up or that it was a very technical recipe. Turns out it’s actually easy to make ! Ha !
My favorite part of the Pavlova is that the meringue is soft and chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside, requiring it to be perfectly cooked.
How to cook a meringue to perfection you ask ? Here are a few tips :
○ Perfectly separate the yolks from the whites
Meringues don’t like grease or fat, so if there is some egg yolk left in your bowl (that corresponds to fat) you may experience some difficulties getting your egg whites to rise.
○ Wipe your bowl perfectly clean
For the same reasons, pick a stainless steal bowl, or make sure the bowl you’re using is perfectly clean and with no traces of excess grease.
○ No salt
If you find recipes calling for salt in your meringue, it’s a false tip. It actually destabilizes the meringue more than anything else because it causes it to release water and therefore not hold properly.
○ Meringues like acidity & starch
You can add some white vinegar, lemon juice or cream of tartar in your meringue to help it rise beautifully as well as some cornstarch.
○ Use room temperature eggs
If they’re too cold they will not rise well, so make sure to take your eggs out of the refrigerator for a while before starting.
○ Beat the egg whites before adding the sugar
Only add your sugar little by little once the egg whites are already well beaten.
○ Cook at low temperature
Depending on how big your meringue is, cooking it at low temperature (100C° / 212F°) for a few hours will make it crunchy on the outside and it’s color won’t turn brown. 1-2 hours for small meringues and up to 3 hours for big meringues. Your meringue then needs to rest for minimum 1 hour or all night long. It’s best to leave it in your oven for a few hours until it’s completely cooled down.
When your meringue is cooked and cooled down, if it doesn’t detach itself from the baking sheet, it’s most likely not cooked thoroughly yet.
In this recipe it can be a bit tricky once the meringue is cooked because it is soft in the inside. Don’t get fooled by it’s exterior aspect when manipulating it or adding your fruit on top, it can easily cave in !
The beauty of this dessert is that it can be adapted to any occasion or season with aromatized whipped cream and fruit. Personally, in addition to a vanilla mascarpone chantilly, I went for a strawberry and mint topping, with 3 kinds of strawberries. The Belgian strawberry – plump and round and very sweet (my personal favorite), the Gariguette – sweet and juicy with a touch of bitterness, and the Mara des bois that reminds us of wild strawberries with a powerful aroma.
INGREDIENTS: (for 6-8 servings, 22cm diameter)
For the Meringue :
○ 4 egg whites (approximately 120g of whites)
○ 200g of granulated sugar
○ 1 soup spoon of cornstarch
○ 1 coffee spoon of white vinegar
For the whipped cream :
○ 100g of mascarpone
○ 100g of whipping cream
○ 30g of granulated sugar
○ 1 vanilla pod
For the meringue:
1. Pre-heat oven at 100°C/212°F. Draw a 22cm circle on a baking sheet and turn it over (so that the ink dosen’t transfer on the meringue)
2. Beat the eggs on medium speed, when they are foamy start adding the sugar, little by little. Once half of the sugar has been added, beat on maximum speed. Add the cornstarch (sifted is better) and the white vinegar.
2. Form the meringue in the lined cercle and make small effects with a mini spatula. Cook for 3 hours at 212°F / 100°C. Once cooked, leave in the oven to cool down for a few hours or even overnight.
For the whipped cream:
Put the mascarpone, the whipping cream, the vanilla and the sugar in your beater and beat until forming a whipped cream.
Assembling (at the last moment):
Dispose the meringue on a serving dish, and start by spreading the whipped cream evenly on it’s surface. Place the strawberries creatively on top, as well as some mint leaves and finish with some powdered sugar.