It is that time of year again when we all resolve to do better, eat better & live better. Life is about balance and although we may be a bit more stringent about our eating habits, every now and then one needs dessert.
Giving in to something a little less detrimental can keep us from going through a midnight fridge raid, faces smeared with chocolate sauce as if it were war paint… and in that crazed state it would be a war in which we had clearly been defeated.
We are all familiar with the pangs of deprivation and quite honestly, I’m not a fan. In lieu of depriving myself from culinary pleasures, I’ll temper them with a better choice.
Pavlovas are the lighter side of sweet. They are a meringue, made from egg whites and a bit of sugar. Granted, there is a billowy layer of whipped cream (and fruit!) piled on top, but if you are being extra good, you can omit the whipped cream… although that will change the dessert entirely.
While pavlovas are not cloyingly sweet, they pair well with fruit that is slightly tart. If you happen to live in a region where fresh passion fruit is available, that is a delicious option. I like pairing this with raspberries as well because they are not overly sweet and their crimson hue looks strikingly beautiful against the stark white of the cream.
This recipe yields a very tender bellied pavlova. It is melt in your mouth, soft marshmallow in the middle, while the top and sides stay slightly crisp.
This plays nicely against the airy whipped cream, giving the dessert a touch of crunchy texture.
Pavlova with Raspberry Coulis
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- pinch of fine salt
- 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and trace a 8-9 inch circle on the paper. Then turn the paper over so the ink is underneath.
- Beat the egg whites with the salt until shiny and stiff peaks form.
- Beat in the sugar, about a third or so at a time, until meringue is stiff and glossy.
- Add in vanilla, seeds from 1 vanilla bean, vinegar and cornstarch. Fold in gently so you do not lose any air from the meringue.
- Use a dot of the meringue under all 4 corners of the parchment paper to secure it to the baking sheet. This will prevent the paper from flying up and touching the sides of the pavlova once it is in the oven.
- Mound the meringue in the outline of your circle and smooth the sides and top.
- Place in oven and immediately turn down to 300F. Bake for 1 hour. The pavlova will turn slightly off white and will more than likely crack a bit on the surface.
- Turn off the oven and allow it to cool completely in the oven.
- Turn the pavlova upside down and cover with whipped cream and fruit.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
Combine all ingredients and beat on highest speed until soft peaks form
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Combine sugar and water in a small pot and bring to a simmer.
- Add raspberries and cook for 5 – 8 minutes until raspberries are cooked down by 3/4.
- Remove from heat and add lemon zest and juice.
- Transfer to a blender and puree.
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds, pressing down with a rubber spatula to get as much juice as possible.
- Chill. Coulis will keep for 2 – 3 days in refrigerator.