One January morning I met a new co-worker who just arrived fresh from Ireland. Now Mr. C. has an Irish background but unfortunately has no accent and I soooo wish he did. He can do an accent on occasion but it’s just not the same. Needless to say I was immediately charmed by this lad, and he wasn’t even on my team yet. He was just a co-worker on the floor whose voice would make my ears perk up whenever he spoke. So when he joined my team full time I could hear that lovely accent all the time. My charmed state turned into a lesson in things Irish and just getting to know someone from a different place. I got to learn many things about him including what foods he loved and missed from his moms home cooking. He had mention that I needed to try these two things Vol Au vent and Pavlova and when he described to me what these were and I went and goggled it and they looked quite tasty. Now Christmas was coming and he hadn’t been home in almost a year, so I started practicing how to make meringues (the main component in Pavlova.) I tried 3 different times and my results varied depending on how long I beat the eggs. I noticed when I thought they looked done; it needed to go just that little bit more. Merignues can come in many forms whether it is chewy in the centre or light and airy. I honestly didn’t know I had these options until I made them myself and started to learn about Macarons. So I chose the latter thinking it would make more sense in the dessert. I was anticipating surprising my friend with my pavlova, but he got to go home for Christmas as a surprise from his loved ones. So I sat on my recipe and waited, but as quickly as I set it aside I learned he was moving on to Brisbane, Australia for a new adventure and this was the recipe I prepared for his last day. I made the meringues the day before and after a long day of work and going to the gym I was shopping in Metro picking up the fruits and the heavy whipping cream at 10:30pm before bed so I wouldn’t have to wake up too early. Now cut to me waking up at 4 am to prepare the fruit and assemble my treat. I don’t wake up any earlier than 5 am on purpose and Mr. C. can attest to that, I hate it. I am a morning person but that’s not morning yet, in my eyes at least. But this morning I gladly did it and would do it again to see the look on his face. When he came in I gave him his treat and prefaced it by saying, “It may not be like your moms, but it was made with love” he opened his special parcel and said “PAVLOVA!” His eyes lit up and all my tiredness went away. He ate every morsel and enjoyed it immensely; he even washed my container and gave me a big hug, totally not expected.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 ½ hour
Difficulty level is: Medium
• 6 egg whites
• 1 big pinch of salt
• ½ tsp cream of tartar
• 1 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
• 2.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 4 ½ tsp cornstarch
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• Strawberries, sliced
• 2 ½ cups of heavy cream
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• Fresh mint leaves, to decorate (if desired)
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Preheat oven to 275°F.
3. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites along with salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
4. In a steady continuous stream add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until stiff peaks have formed.
5. Add the cider vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla and beat until peaks are thick and glossy.
6. Pour meringues on the parchment paper with a spatula into a circle.
7. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
8. Let cool in the oven to help the meringue crisp up.
1. Whip together the cream and vanilla extract on medium with an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment until stiff peaks are just about to form.
1. Peel and prepare the fruits.
1. Place one meringue onto a plate, then top with whipped cream, add a portion of fruit and serve.
Pavlova (Layered Crispy & Flat Meringue)
1. Place one meringue onto a plate, then top with whipped cream and add a portion of fruit and then add another meringue and add whipped cream and more fruit. Add one more meringue and top with a little more whipped cream.
2. Decorate with a mint leaves on top.
• The meringues can be any size really, depending on if you want to crumble the meringues or leave them whole. I have done it both ways. I keep them whole when I am making individual portions and crumble them when I am making it family style. (If you want a crumbly meringue make the circles smaller and flatter.)
• It is difficult to achieve the perfect meringue, so don’t fret if it’s not perfect.
• You don’t have to make the whipped cream, you can use store bought, but I highly recommend making your own. You can taste the difference.
• You can use any of your favourite fruits or what is readily available or in season.
• Meringues can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 7 days.
• If you have never made meringues before practice a couple of times, if you want this to turn out right. Please note- The perfect meringue will have no air pockets inside.
• Variations: Add 2 tsp of different extracts instead of vanilla extract of 2 tsp of cocoa powder for a chocolate flavour.
Needless to say my Irish co-worker loved it and appreciated my effort. His face and the hug told me that. But considering when I told him how early I was up and making this, he said “I was rolling over in bed and you’re up making this for me, this was absolutely lovely”. I also made another set for the rest of my co-workers (family style) and they enjoyed it to, even some who weren’t meringue fans like Mr. C. This item seems to have a love it or hate it factor, but because it was mixed with other components the haters became lovers. This was a great feeling. I may have turned some people onto a new dessert.
This came out great, there was a perfect mix of sweet from the meringue and acidity from the fruit and the mellowness of the whipped cream. I will be making this again.