Written by Cheri of Kitchen Simplicity.
Pavlovas are a perfect Easter dessert for so many reasons. 1) The majority of the work can be done a couple of days before serving. 2) You can make individual servings or one large dessert. 3) You can top it with whatever variety of toppings you like – or even serve it buffet style with a variety of toppings and everyone can customize their own.
For these Easter pavlovas I decided to embrace spring head on. I spread the mini pavlovas into egg shapes and topped them with a bright lemon whipped cream and a tart vanilla-rhubarb compote. If you prefer something more traditional you can form these into a round shape to resemble an Easter basket instead.
Pavlovas might look and sound intimidating but they’re really quite simple to make. Follow the tips below for extra assurance of success.
Tips to a Perfect Pavlova
1. Know when it’s done.
A perfect pavlova should be crisp on the outside with a soft marshmallowy interior. A pavlova should not be crisp and dried all the way through so take care not to over-bake it.
Troubleshooting: If little spots form on the crust after cooling it was cooked too long. If the inside is runny after cooling it hasn’t been baked long enough. The best way to tell is by feel – let it bake until the top is dry to the touch.
2. No browning.
The pavlova should not brown. Although it will turn a slight cream color, there should be no distinct change of color. If you notice that it’s starting to turn color, lower the temperature of the oven.
When whipped egg whites are the base of a recipe you want to get as much lift and air as possible. To ensure maximum volume, use room temperature egg whites and take care that there are no yolks or grease remnants in any of the utensils, as this can weigh the egg whites down.
5. Add the sugar slowly.
To ensure that the sugar dissolves easily into the pavlova, add it slowly to the whipping egg whites (approximately 1 tablespoon at a time). Superfine sugar is best because it will dissolve more easily – you can even make your own by processing regular sugar in a food processor until fine. To make sure the sugar has dissolved into the egg whites, stop the beater and rub the mixture between your fingers; if there’s any grittiness, keep whisking.
6. Keep it dry.
Store the baked and cooled pavlovas at room temperature in an airtight container for several days (I’ve heard up to five days, but it depends on the humidity). It’s important to keep them away from humidity as this will make them go soft and they will spoil faster. Likewise, it is best to top them just before serving for best presentation and texture.
|Easter Pavlovas with Lemon Whipped Cream and Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote||
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeded
- Preheat oven to 300º F.
- Whisk egg whites on medium-high until soft peaks form. With mixer running, slowly add sugar, a little at a time. Whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form (as pictured at the top of the post). Add cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, spoon mounds of the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, smoothing it out and forming it into an egg or other desired shape.
- Place in oven and lower heat to 250º F. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the outside is dry to the touch. Shut off heat and allow to cool completely in the oven.
- Once cool, store in an airtight container until using.
- To serve: Smack the top with a spoon, fill with Lemon Whipped Cream and Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote.
- Whip cream to soft peaks.
- Add sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Whip just until stiff peaks form.
- Serve immediately.
- Place rhubarb and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until sugar has mostly dissolved and rhubarb has started releasing its juices.
- Add vanilla bean and seeds. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat and keep mixture at a simmer, stirring often, until rhubarb has softened but the mixture is still chunky.
- Serve warm or make ahead and serve cold from the refrigerator.
Have you ever made a pavlova? What are you favorite toppings? Any extra tips?