Very Berry Christmas Pavlova with pastry cream or whipped cream.

December 17th, 2010 PhoenixCOZA Posted in Food and Health No Comments »

pavlovaThe textures and colours of a pavlova are really fresh and sweet with the amount of whipped cream a reason I am not a fan of eating it. Making and presenting it however is all the fun. The result are a choice of your custom versions of this popular Australian/New Zealand dessert.

Pavlova ,similar to meringue, is made by beating egg whites , folding in castor sugar, white vinegar, cornstarch, and vanilla essence, and slow-baking the mixture. This makes the outside of the pavlova a crisp crunchy shell, while the interior remains soft and moist. The pavlova’s different to the normal crisp texture associated with meringue, in that it has a soft marshmallow texture. This difference is due to the addition of cornstarch, which is the defining feature of a pavlova recipe.

The actual pavlova is at the end of the article as it will be easier for your to use a meringue crust with the topping choices to save you a great deal of time. The difficulty with the South African heat is keeping your utensils cool by keeping the mixing bowls etc in the refrigerator in order to get the egg white mixture prefect. The difference in taste and and textures will be well worth the extra time and effort.

Once the pavlova crust is ready (See below) we have the following filling choices.

Very Berry Brandy Cream
Very Berry Pastry cream (custard topping)

Very Berry Brandy Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream.
  • 1 tablespoons caster sugar (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (to taste)

Whip the cream and sugar together in a bowl until soft peaks almost form, add the brandy, and continue beating until stiff.
fill the pavlova crust
add Very Berry Topping.
Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold for more than a few hours. (Hence the reason for the custard option as an alternate)

Very Berry Pastry cream

  • 300ml milk
  • 1/4 cup Castor sugar
  • 1/4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 6 egg yolks (Egg whites used in pavlova)

Whisk the yolks and Castor sugar in a bowl until thick.
Place milk and vanilla seeds in a saucepan over a  medium heat, stirring regularly
Remove from heat and whisk half of hot milk mixture into egg mixture.
Gradually whisk in cornstarch and butter
Gradually whisk in the remaining warm milk.
Return mixture to same saucepan and stir constantly over a low heat until the custard thickens.
fill the pavlova crust
add Very Berry Topping.

Very Berry Topping

  • 900g of mixed berries
  • strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
  • raspberries (substitute with gooseberry for colour)
  • blackberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon castor sugar

To prepare topping: in a mixing bowl, combine strawberries, vanilla, balsamic vinegar and sugar
arrange the mixture to dress the creamy filling.

The Pavlova Base
The base I have is from the Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Pavlova, howecver for a chewy marshmallowy base and much easy for time managemnt use the Forgotten Pudding by Nigella.

6 large egg whites
pinch of salt
500 g (17.5 oz) superfine sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon rosewater

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw an 8-inch (20 cm) circle on the paper with a kitchen pencil.

Beat the egg whites and salt with an electric beater until thick soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar, a scattered spoonful or two at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cornstarch, vinegar and rosewater, and gently fold into the meringue.

Pour and scrape the meringue into the middle of the circle — if it is well and thoroughly beaten it should flow no farther than the outer edges of the circle. Using a spatula, roughly flatten the top and smooth the sides. Place in the preheated oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 300°. Bake for 1 3/4 hours, during which time the meringue will puff up. Turn off the heat, open the door and leave to cool sitting in the oven — it should be left to cool in the oven until shortly before serving, or alternately it can be cooked ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for a week or so.
Pavlova Base source :