Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pavlova with Blueberry Reduction Sauce

Sadly, I had never heard of a pavlova until spring break of this year.  One night on the cruise I decided to order a dessert off the healthy menu.  Now, if you've ever had a "healthy" dessert, they sometimes have an odd aftertaste or are full of so many artificial sweeteners.  Yet this dessert sounded good and I'm a sucker for any dessert that incorporates fresh fruit.

Trust me, I wasn't disappointed with this dessert!  As soon as your perforate the shell of the pavlova with the tip of your spoon, the marshmallow interior begins to peek through and incorporate with the fruit topping.  Holy yum!

When making this, I had to whip the egg whites A LOT longer than 5 minutes.  I'm not exactly sure why, but I think maybe the metal bowl I used wasn't perfectly clean; any little bit of oil residue can alter how well egg whites whip up into firm peaks.

Adapted from Simply Recipes 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces, about 6) large egg whites, preferably room temperature
  • Pinch salt

  • 2 pints fresh or frozen berries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water

  1. Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.
  2. In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites, cream of tartar and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla.  Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Pipe or spoon the meringue into 8-10 large round mounds that are 3 inches wide on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once meringue is baked.
  5. Place baking sheet in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside, and white -- not tan-colored or cracked. The interiors should have a marshmallow-like consistency. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.
  6. Gently lift from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or individually wrapped, for up to a week if your house is not humid.
  7. Served topped with your favorite filling.

Berry Sauce:
Heat a couple pints of fresh or frozen berries in a medium saucepan with about a quarter cup of sugar and a quarter cup of water. Heat on medium heat, stirring once or twice, for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how much the berries are falling aprt. Remove from heat and let cool.

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