Hi friends! I hope you are all well. For my part, I’m suffering from a bit of a summer cold, so this post is a bit brief. In my recent lemon curd ice cream post (which several of you mentioned you were going to make! Yay!), I referred to these brilliant little pavlovas. What better time than now to show you how to make them?
In that last post, I noted that you should freeze your leftover egg whites from the ice cream. They hold-up very well in the freezer, so you can preserve them for up to a year. When you’re ready, thaw them in the refrigerator the night before you plan to use them. And make sure you label them with a date and amount so you can use up the older ones first. My freezer has a rather large gathering of frozen egg whites just hanging around from all the ice cream and lemon curd batches. Angel food cake is one way to use them up (which I happen to have a recipe for that I need to share) and so are these delicious pavlovas (crispy French meringues).
This recipe is spot on for everything that I love about a great pavlova. I want the inside to be soft and chewy (check) and the outside to be firm and crisp (also, check). Make them individually (you will yield about 6) or make a huge one to share. Once it’s baked, you have a lot of possibilities. In the photos you see here, we enjoyed them with freshly whipped cream, pears, chocolate sauce, and a sprinkle of almonds. But, another favorite way is with freshly whipped cream, loaded with fresh berries, and a bit of mint. Or, a perfect way to use up some of that leftover lemon curd from the ice cream is it spoon it onto the pavlova along with, you guessed it, freshly whipped cream. All of these combinations are fantastic. A couple added benefits to this dessert– it can be made days (even weeks) ahead of time and kept in an airtight container (with low humidity) and it can also be enjoyed by your gluten-intolerant friends, since they do not contain any flour.
One word of advice that I’ve learned through making countless pavlovas. Don’t even attempt to make them when it is humid outside. I’m serious here. They’ll fall apart into a weepy mess. So along with being a baker you get to play meteorologist with this one. Which, as I recently had a conversation about with one of my Instagram friends, would be about the best job ever. Enjoy!
The Recipe: Perfect Pavlovas
(Makes 6 individual or 1 large)
1/2 cup (4 1/4 ounces) egg whites, about 4 eggs *See Note
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon superfine sugar (4 ounces) *See Note
1 cup powdered sugar (4 ounces)
Note: If using frozen egg whites, make sure to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. If you don’t have superfine sugar, you can simply put granulated sugar in a food processor for a couple of minutes.
Extra advice: As I stated already, do not even attempt to make on humid days– it won’t work. Make sure your utensils and egg whites are free of any grease. Do not use parchment paper or a greased and floured baking sheet– the meringue will often stick to them. Use aluminum foil. Do not open the oven door during the first three quarters of cooking time, this helps prevent cracks.
Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment (or a bowl and hand mixer) beat the eggs until frothy. Add the cream of tartar, beat on medium speed while slowly adding 2 tablespoons of superfine sugar. When soft peaks form when the whisk is raised, add 1 more tablespoon of superfine sugar. Increase speed to high. When stiff peaks form when the beater is raised, slowly add the remaining superfine sugar and beat until very stiff and glossy.
Stop the mixer, and sift the powdered sugar over the meringue and fold in using a rubber spatula. Spread onto the foil-lined baking sheet. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to create some crevices. It helps to have the sides a bit higher than the center when it comes to filling them later. Bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, depending upon your oven. Mine are generally perfect after just 2 hours. Alternately, if your oven has a pilot light, you can bake them for 1 hour, turn off the oven, and leave them in there overnight. You will know the pavlovas are done when you insert a knife into the middle for doneness– if will be tender/soft in the middle, but crisp on the outside. They will be slightly sticky right away, but will continue to dry at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for several weeks. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible
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