One of the simplest yet most elegant desserts is the pavolva.
All you need is egg whites, sugar, white vinegar, corn starch, vanilla and an electric mixer.
I prefer a Swiss Meringue technique to achieve glossier appearance and a creamier interior.
Spread fluffy whipped egg whites mixture out on parchment paper, bake at a very low temperature and cool. Fill with fresh whipped cream and seasonal fruit.
If it’s Winter, maybe pomegranates and citrus. Spring- try a lemon curd and strawberries. Summer- mountains of mixed berries (my favorite) or peaches and nectarines. In the Fall try apricots and white chocolate. This dessert is as versatile as it is impressive. I hope you give it a try for that special dessert when you need a wow factor, but a simple technique.
Mixed Berry Pavolva
- For the Swiss Meringue
6-7 large egg whites at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
- For the filling:
3 cups strawberries, washed, stemmed and hulled.
2 cups raspberries, washed
2 TBSP Grand Marnier, divided
2 TBSP sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, very cold
Method- Serves 6-8- Total time- 4 hours time
- Pre heat oven to 250 degrees.
- For the Swiss Meringue
- On a large piece of parchment paper, using a pie plate as your guide, trace a 10″ circle on the paper, flip over and place on a large baking sheet.
- Bring to a simmer 1″ of water in a saucepan. Place a heatproof bowl over the water- do not let the water touch the bowl. Add sugar and egg whites and beat constantly for 5-6 minutes until the mixtue reaches 160 degrees. Whites will be foamy.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixture and continue beating the whites until stiff glossy peaks form- about 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add in the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla. Beat on high for another 10-15 seconds.
- Scoop the meringue onto the parchment lined sheet creating a circle. Using a spatula, build and form a rim or a “crust” along the outside of the circle. The interior depression will later hold the fillings.
- Bake the meringue for 1 1/2 hours at 250 degrees. The edges wil be a slightly creamy white color. Do not brown or over cook.
After 1 1/2 hours, turn off the oven leaving the oven door slightly ajar. Allow the meringue cool for about another 1 1/2 hours in the oven. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 more minutes while you prepare the fillings.
The meringue should lift easily (but handle gently) from the parchment once completely cooled.
Gently place the baked meringue on a large cuting board or on your serving plate to decorate.
You can wrap a baked meringue in plastic and store unfilled at room temperature for up to one week. High humidity affects the texture, so wrap very well if you live in a humid climate.
- For the berries
- Place washed berries, 1 TBSP Grand Marnier liqueur and 1 TBSP sugar into a bowl. Mix well. Let macerate in the fridge until needed for the filling.
- For the whipped cream-
- In the bowl of a stand mixture beat cream on medium speed iuntil foamy. Add in remaining 1 TBSP Grand Marnier liqueur and 1 TBSP sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy – about 30 seconds.
- To serve
- Place the baked meringue on a large serving platter. Fill with the whipped cream, reserving about 1 cup. Top with macerated berries. Top with additional dollops of whipped cream. Garnish with mint, if desired.
Use a large sharp knife to cut into wedges.