The Light Between Oceans

The Food

I was so happy to be reading a novel based in Australia, because that gave me the opportunity to make one of my favourite desserts – Pavlova, the classic dessert that is said was created in honour of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova during one of her visits to Australia and New Zealand.

This simple to make dessert offers up a variety of textures and flavours that make it irresistible – crunchy sweet meringue, smooth whipped cream, tart-sweet fruit – your book club will love it!

Making meringue is simple, but just follow these steps first:

  1. Make sure your mixing bowl and beaters are squeaky clean.
  2. Have egg whites at room temperature.
  3. Make certain there is no egg yolk in the egg whites.
  4. Use a table top mixer unless you are really into an arm work-out. You will be beating the egg whites for about 20 minutes.

I made individual meringues because they are easier to serve than one giant one.

Pavlova

Meringue:

Makes 8-10 individual meringues

3/4 Cup (185 mL) egg whites, room temperature, approximately 6 large eggs

1/8 teaspoon ( .75 mL) cream of tartar

2 Cups (500 mL) granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon (15 mL) white vinegar

1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

  • Heat oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • With a pencil, trace around the bottom of a small bowl or a coffee mug, that is approximately 2 -3 inches across. Do this 8-10 times on the parchment paper. Flip the paper over so you can see the circles, but the pencil wont get onto the meringues.
  • Pour the egg whites into the bowl of the table top mixer, and beat with the whisk attachment until quite frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until getting stiff.
  • With the mixer still running, slowly add the sugar, making sure it is all getting whisked in.
  • When all the sugar is mixed in, add the vinegar and the vanilla, and beat on high speed until the mixture is very shiny and stiff, this takes about another 10-12 minutes.
  • Scoop the mixture into a large zip lock bag, seal it shut, and cut off one of the bottom corners. Now pipe the meringues into the circles that you’ve drawn on the parchment paper, starting at the center of the circle and working your way to the outer rim, then build it up for another 2 rounds on the outside of the circle only, not the center.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour – the meringues will be very lightly coloured. Turn oven off and let cool in oven.
  • These can be made days in advance of when you are going to use them, just seal in an airtight container once they have cooled.

Cream filling:

Makes enough for 8-10 individual Pavlovas

3 cups (750 mL) 35% cream

1/4 cup (60 mL) to 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

  • Pour chilled cream into mixing bowl, beat with electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar to your taste, and finally beat in the vanilla. Stop beating as soon as the whipping cream is forming firm peaks.

Fresh fruit topping:

2 cups (500 mL) sliced fresh strawberries

3 kiwis, peeled and sliced

2 cups blackberries or raspberries

1 star fruit, sliced into 8-10 stars

To assemble Pavlovas:

  • Distribute meringue shells onto the required amount of dessert plates.
  • Heap a generous amount of whipped cream on top of each meringue.
  • Divide the fruit evenly amongst the meringues.
  • Serve immediately.

Printer friendly recipe

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