Monday, March 7, 2011

Pavlova for (more than) two

Yesterday was our first anniversary. Anniversary! I searched for cake or dessert recipes for this special day, but I ended up having too many options. Just until three days ago I saw one of Nigella`s videos where she made a Chocolate Pavlova and I was like, this is it! Reasons:
1. It`s easy to make (you`ll see how easy it is)
2. I get to use my egg whites leftover.
3. Most importantly: It looks beautiful!

Eeerrr...yes, reason no 2 doesn`t sound special at all, but just look at the other reasons! I`m very proud of myself for finally using the leftover, lol.
I (always) assume you all already knew about this dessert. But, just in case you did not, pavlova is a meringue disc covered with layer of cream and topped with fruits. The ingredients called for in pavlova recipe is quite similar with macaron, but instead of piping the batter out into small coins with a pastry bag, the whole meringue batter is at once dumped onto the baking pan and shaped into one big disc of meringue. It means only one thing: less work for me. Nice.
So, to make this pavlova, there are 3 things to prepare: the meringue disc, the frosting, and the topping. It takes about 1 hour to bake the meringue and another 1 hour to cool it down, I guess it`s best to work on the meringue first and do the rest when baking.

Confession: I was too nervous when I started the work and I didn`t take picture of my egg whites.
Just imagine a bag of thawed egg whites sitting on a kitchen counter. Four egg whites. Four, please.
Use egg whites stored at room temperature. Mine was frozen, so I let it sit outside for overnight.

Now put the egg whites in it and beat them until soft peaks form. Then, gradually beat in a tablespoon of icing sugar at a time and keep whisking until the meringue batter turns shiny and forms stiff peaks.

Gently fold in a tsp of vanilla oil and a tsp of white vinegar with a rubber spatula. Now, there is another ingredient that Nigella doesn`t use yet apparently many other recipes do. Corn starch is usually added at this step so that the meringue has a soft marshmallowy interior. I did plan to use it, but I didn`t. I f-o-r-g-o-t. I know, I hate myself for this. Can we move on? Thank you.
So, after folding in vanilla oil and vinegar (and corn starch, if you remember), dump the whole meringue onto baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Flatten the meringue with spatula into a disc with roughly 20-cm in diameter. This is "flat" enough for me.

So, bake the corn starch-less meringue in a preheated oven at 180 C, but, immediately turn the temperature down to 150 C. Bake it for 60 to 75 mins.
Note: As I was worried if the meringue got burnt, I turned down the temperature to 130 C after 20 mins and continued baking.

After finished baking, you`ll see that the meringue disc looks like swollen up, but after you let it cool in the oven with the oven door open for like an hour, the disc will shrink a bit and the surface will crack open.

The exterior should look crisped up like a shell while the interior is spongy soft. In fact, I couldn`t stop poking it. It`s really like a soft pillow underneath the shell.
Let it sit in the oven to cool and let`s continue with the frosting.

Add sugar into heavy cream and whisk on low speed to start. Increase the speed gradually when the cream starts to stiffen.

When the cream is stiff enough, beat in chunks of cream cheese with high speed until well combined.

Get the meringue disc from the oven and carefully transfer it to a serving plate. Now gently spread the frosting on the surface. You need to do this very gently because the crisp shell is very easy to break. But I don`t really mind when the shell fell off from the side during frosting. I called him over and he loyally (and happily) stood beside me with mouth open.

See the uncovered part? He (and I) ate it.

Scatter the fruits on top and you`re done!

This pavlova couldn`t fit into the largest plate I have. So I used the plate anyway and place it on a cup. Aha..who says I don`t have a cake stand?

Those are me and him, couldn`t wait to eat the whole thing.

As what described by most recipes, this pavlova is indeed crisp on the outside with marshmallowy texture inside. Spreading cream on top is actually really good to soften the strong sweetness of the meringue while the nice fresh tang comes from the fruits to balance everything.
Simply to say, this, is a beautiful harmony.

I just finished a slice now. Oh...sugary days...I need to shop for new pants.

For meringue
4 medium-sized egg whites, stored at room temperature
170 g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla oil
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp of corn starch
Preheat oven at 180 C, place in the meringue and immediately turn down to 150 C, bake for 20 mins, turn down again to 130 C, and bake for another 40-60 mins.

For frosting
200 ml heavy cream
100 g cream cheese
10 g sugar

For topping
Strawberries, unhulled
Kiwies, peeled and sliced
*I modified the recipe due to ingredients availability.


  1. Congratulations on your One year anniversary!
    and manymany moree to come ;D

    Your cake looks beautiful, and yes, it does sound so easy to make!
    i just might try this out too (:

  2. happy anniversary, dear! here's for more yummy days together with your A :)

  3. Thanks for the warm wishes! :)

  4. happy anniversary! i used to kinda hate pavlova when i was in sydney, but i turn to love it now! aiyoo not good for my pants indeed

  5. Happy Anniversary, Arudhi :)! The Pavlova looks yummy! I've never tried it in my life, but I think I'd like it :D)!

  6. Happy Anniversary Arudhi! This pavlova looks delicious and I wish you to many more sweet years as sweet as this pavlova!

  7. Congratulations on your anniversary. Gorgeous and perfectly baked pavlova. The pictures are really a wow!

  8. Oh you all are very sweet! Thanks a lot for the wishes and I hope you like this pavlova too when you give it a try :)
    Rita: I felt larger already The minute I spooned it :DD Now I know I shouldn`t make this dessert more than once a year :D

  9. Congrats on your anniversary, wishing you many joyous years ahead!

    What a stunning post...edible art!!

  10. Congratulations on your anniversary! Your pavlova looks very yummy! I wish you and your husband have a wonderful years ahead!

  11. Hello Arudhi! Stumbled upon your lovely blog. Congrats on your anniversary! I love Nigella also!! Great great great pics and I will be back! Tazki

  12. Hi Arudhi! I hope you are safe. I saw in the news the terrible disaster the earthquake caused in Japan. My prays are with you all.

  13. Hello Arudhi. 大丈夫でしたか?I am just wanted to know if you and friends are safe. I've been following the news about the earthquake and it's very heart broken. Hope you are doing fine. Stay strong!

  14. Happy anniversary! This pavlova sure looks a winner!

  15. how's the situation in Sendai? I hope you and your husband are doing fine.
    happy anniversary!