Want to wow your guests with a dessert that you can make in advance- make a Pavlova! Make the meringue shell in advance and fill it right before serving. You can fill it with the traditional whipped cream and berries; but you can also choose to fill it with lemon curd and berries, or softened ice cream or even sorbet.
Now- a little extra info based on my experience: 1. Take out your eggs several hours before you’re going to separate and whip them. There is no question that warmer egg whites will whip up larger than cooler ones. 2. I’ve baked (dried out) my meringue shells at 300° F. and at 180°F. The shells finish faster at the higher temperature (one hour in the hot oven followed by 30 minutes more in a turned off oven.); but they turn light cocoa in color. Baked at 180° F. for an hour and then left in a turned off oven overnight, they remain white. It’s a matter of personal preference. I prefer the whiter meringue. 3. Making the meringue shell: a. Draw a circle on parchment paper with a pencil. Turn the parchment over on to the cookie sheet so that you can see the outline of the circle; but so that it won’t come off on the meringue. Alternatively, you can take a parchment baking circle and pipe your meringue directly on it. b.You can place dollops of meringue directly on to the parchment and sculpt a basket by smoothing out the meringue with a soft spatula.Flatten out the bottom and bring it up the sides to form a free form basket or c. Assemble a pastry bag with a medium/large tip, fill it with meringue and pipe the bottom starting from the inside and pipe the meringue around until you have filled in the circle. Now that you have a base, you can pipe two single layers of meringue on the outside rim to form a basket. When you actually do this, you’ll find that it is much less complicated than it might read on the screen.
Prep time: 45 minutes
By December 12, 2016Published:
- two 9 inch meringue baskets plus 1-2 smaller ones
- 6 large egg whites room temperature (save yolks for pastry cream etc.)
- 1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar use 1 teaspoon lemon juice for Passover
- 2 cups White Sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 pints heavy whipping cream
- 6 tablespoons Confectioner's Sugar
- 2-3 cups mixed berries
- small bunch fresh mint leaves optional
- electric mixer whisk attached
- fine sieve
- flexible spatula
- large cookie sheet
- parchment paper/parchment circles
- pastry bag and large plain or star tip
- Preheat oven to 180° F.
- Remove 1/2 cup of sugar and place it in a small mixing bowl. Sift the cornstarch into it and mix well. Set aside.
Pour egg whites into mixing bowl. Whisk until frothy. Add cream of tartar. Whisk until soft peaks begin to form. Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar slowly to the beaten whites as they continue to beat; then add sugar-cornstarch mixture and beat until egg whites have formed a stiff glossy meringue. If you can draw a line through the meringue with the spatula, the meringue is done. You can also turn the bowl upside down. If nothing falls out, you are good to go!
- Use two 9 inch parchment circles or draw circles on a piece of parchment paper. If you draw them, remember to turn the paper on the other side before adding the meringue. You don't want pencil marks on the bottom of your Pavlova!
- There are two options for creating the meringue shell: 1. Take a few dollops of meringue with a spatula and place them in the center of the circle. Spread out the meringue so that the circle is covered with a smooth thin layer of meringue and then bring the meringue up an inch or two so that you form a rim. You can also just smooth the meringue with the spatula for the base and then pipe two layers of meringue around the circumference of the circle to form the sides.
2. Fill your piping bag 3/4 full with meringue. Twist the top of the bag and gently squeeze the meringue so that all the air comes out and the meringue begins to come out of the tip. Take one hand and hold the tip while the other hand squeezes the bag of meringue and guides the tip around the circle. If you're piping the base, it is easier to start in the middle and pipe concentric circles around and around until you have filled in the base circle. Add more meringue to the bag ad needed. When the base is filled in, you then take the decorating bag and pipe one circle around the circumference of the base; and then another circle on top of that. You can pipe these circles straight around or you can make a wavy line around the base. Repeat process for the second Pavlova.
- Place cookie sheet in oven and let the Pavlova she;l dry out for 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave shells inside for several hours or overnight. Baked shells will keep for several days in a moisture free area.
- Dairy Filling: Pour whipped cream in bowl of mixer and whip on slow speed until it stats to thicken. If you whip it on high speed too soon you and everything near you will be spattered by cream. After cream has thickened somewhat, add the confectioners sugar-one tablespoon at a time. Whip until cream holds its shape. Fill meringue shells with whipped cream and top with mixed berries. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.
- Non-Dairy Filling: Make lemon curd and spoon it into the meringue shells. Top with berries.