Have you ever heard of a Pavlova? I sure hadn’t until my good friend Leslie brought one to our Dancing with the Stars/Bachelor nights as her contribution to the potluck spread. Nothing goes better together than friends, reality tv shows and food! It’s one of the things I miss most about our life in LA. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since we moved out of California. And in about a month I move to Vancouver! I digress.
So, Leslie had just spent a year working in Australia, where learned of this light and airy dessert. It was like nothing I had tasted before! It was a cake, but it was so light and delicious that I think I had three servings that night. Not to mention it was almost too pretty to eat…I said almost. She told me about how it was made in honor of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova on her tour of Australia and New Zealand, where the chef was inspired by her tutu. I was also informed that there’s quite a debate between Aussies and Kiwis as to which country can stake claim to creating the dessert. Apparently it’s a pretty big deal! No debate here, I’m all for eating it!
A Pavlova essentially a baked meringue topped with fresh whipped cream and sliced fruit. Meringue’s are a little tricky to get right – you have to whip it to the right point and they hate any bit of fat. For that reason, be extra careful when separating eggs. It took me a few tries to get it right, so don’t get frustrated. After having the Pavlova on a couple of occasions, I made a mental note that I wanted to remake it for our website. I wouldn’t have this recipe without Leslie’s help and insight so I have to give her a huge shout-out! And now I’m going to share this special dessert with all of you. It’s perfect for celebrating special occasions (partly because look at it! It’s gorgeous!) from birthdays and anniversaries to bridal showers and everything in between. Or just a Monday night while watching The Bachelor with your BFFs. That might be the best occasion of all. ~Suzanne
- 4 egg whites (no yolk can be present)
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 ¼ C maple sugar(If coarse, pulse maple sugar in a food processor or clean coffee grinder)
- 2 tsp arrowroot powder or tapioca starch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 13.5oz cans full fat coconut milk, refrigerated for 2 hours or even overnight
- 3 tbsp Grade B maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- Sliced fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and kiwi
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment. Using an 8 inch cake pan, trace an 8 inch circle on the middle of the parchment with pencil. Turn the parchment over so that the pencil side in down and you can see the faint circle through the parchment.
- Place egg whites in a metal bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment (or regular hand mixer).
- Beat on high until soft peaks form (peaks curl when beater is pulled out).
- With the mixer on, add in sugar ⅓ at a time, incorporating fully in between adding the sugar.
- Continue to whisk together until all sugar is mixed in, and the mixture turns stiff and glossy. (Think stiff peaks like the Denver Airport...or that you should be able to hold the bowl over your head and nothing falls out.)
- Once stiff peaks have formed, gently fold in arrowroot powder, vanilla and lemon juice until combined.
- Mound the mixture in the middle of the circle on the parchment, carefully spreading the meringue to fill the circle. Try your best to spread more to the the sides than the middle.
- Place in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 250°.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
- Once timer is done, turn off the oven and let it cool in the oven, with the door closed, until completely cooled (this could take an hour or so).
- While Pavlova is cooling, place the metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment (or beaters) in the freezer. Leave it for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove bowl from freezer, and retrieve the coconut milk from the refrigerator. Open the coconut milk and scoop out only the thick parts of the coconut milk. Place in bowl and beat on high until cream becomes whipped.
- Add in maple syrup, vanilla, pinch of salt and combine, adding more maple syrup or vanilla if desired.
- Once Pavlova is cooled completely, transfer from the parchment onto your cake plate and top with the whipped coconut cream, adding the sliced fresh fruit on top of the cream.
- Slice, serve and enjoy!
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