I’ve been dreaming (literally) about making this dessert ever since I saw Jamie Oliver make it a couple years ago. It popped into my mind this past week and thought about it for a couple days (I kept telling myself that I shouldn’t make any desserts). After waking up in the middle of the night with pavlovas on my mind, I decided that the recipe must be tried.
Pavlovas are a meringue-based dessert created in the 1920s when famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova was touring New Zealand and Australia. The origin of which country is the true creator seems to be up for debate, but regardless of who first made it, the dessert is unique and amazing.
The meringue is sweetened with sugar and the secret ingredients are vinegar and cornstarch added just before baking. These last two ingredients help to create the crispy outside while allowing the inside to remain marshmallowy soft. The contrast in textures is why I love this dessert so much
Unfortunately, the market didn’t have any good fresh fruits when I was shopping, so I used canned peaches as an alternative. You can experiment with whatever toppings you like – fresh berries, pears, candied ginger, chocolate, etc.
You’ll find many recipes online, all of which are nearly the same.
Peach Pavlova with Spiced Cardamom Cream
4 egg whites at room temperature
1 cup fine sugar (I pulsed granulated sugar in processor)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white vinegar
for the cardamom cream & peach topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup canned peaches drained of syrup
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
honey for drizzling (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F (130C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
In a mixer, add the egg whites and beat at high speed. Slowly add 1 cup fine sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until egg whites form stiff peaks. Fold in the cornstarch and vinegar.
Pile the meringue onto the parchment paper in a circle. You could make one large 10″ circle or two 6″ circles. Don’t fuss over it too much. The more rustic, the more beautiful the end result.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes – DO NOT open oven during this time. Once the time is up, the meringue should be starting to take on a slightly creamy coffee color. This is perfect!
Turn off the oven and open the door slightly so heat can escape. Leave pavlovas in oven until fully cooled. You may find that the pavlovas crack during cooling which I think makes them look even better.
At this point, the pavlovas may be stored in an airtight container for use within a day or two. The pavlovas will be brittle so handle with care.
Making the Spiced Cardamom Cream
Whip 1 cup whipping cream with 2 tablespoons sugar until it becomes stiff. Add in a dash of cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Lightly place the whip cream on top of the pavlova. Top with peaches and pistachios then drizzle with honey. The weight of the ingredients may cause the pavlova to cave in but do not worry. Serve immediately by cutting into wedges.
You will not need to worry about leftovers. This light and airy dessert is both delicious and addictive!