Friends, thank you for taking the time to watch the first episode of AZ Cookbook on AZRU TV. Some of you watched it even without understanding a single word I said:), but were kind enough to leave words of encouragement in their comments. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those of you who missed my post about that episode – I demonstrated how to make Pavlova with fresh berries. The program was in Russian, but I wanted to share the recipe with my English readers as well.
Cake Pavlova was created in honor of the legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova when she toured Australia and New Zealand in the 20s of the 20th century. One theory holds that the cake was first made in Australia, but New Zealanders claim Pavlova is their invention.
Pavlova consists of a meringue shell topped with whipped cream and fresh fruits, typically, passion fruit, kiwi, and strawberries, but often raspberries and blueberries as well, like in this recipe. The meringue shell is absolutely delicious – it is marshmallow-soft inside and crunchy on the outside. Cream on top and berries with fresh mint as an added bonus – and you’ve created paradise for your palate. Pavlova is also easy to make. Just follow the recipe. Enjoy!
Fresh Berry Pavlova
Serves about 8
To see the process, go to AZ Cookbook on AZRU TV.
For the Meringue Shell:
4 large egg whites, at room temperature (they should not be cold – important!)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup ( 7 oz / 190 g) superfine sugar (if you don’t have superfine sugar, process regular granulated sugar in a food processor until fine, but not powdery)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Cream:
1 1/4 (300 ml / 10 fl.oz ) cup heavy cream (butterfat content: 35-40%), chilled (important!)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
For the Top:
Mixed fresh raspberries and blueberries
A few fresh mint leaves
Preheat the oven to 200F (100C). Set the rack on the middle of the oven.
Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl (the bowl should be clean and absolutely dry!). Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy.
Add the vinegar and cornstarch. Continue to beat until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.
Adding the sugar gradually, about 1 tablespoon at a time, continue beating until the mixture is glossy and stiff, about 5 minutes. To check if the mixture is ready: lift the beaters – if the mixture holds its shape as a pointy peak that stays on the beaters, it is ready. Add the vanilla extract and beat just until blended.
Line the bottom of a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper. Invert a 9 inch (25 cm) plate onto the parchment paper. Draw a circle around it with a pen or a pencil. Turn the paper over. You will use the circle as a guide for your meringue border.
Using a rubber spatula, gently spoon the meringue mixture onto the parchment paper and spread it to cover the circle. Thin out the center (see the picture below). This is where you will spoon the cream.
Bake, without opening the oven, for 1 hour and 40 minutes, until it is glossy and hard to touch. Remember – the shell should remain white! Turn off the oven and leave the shell to cool in the oven, without opening the doors, until it has cooled completely, at least 2 hours. (The cooked meringue will be crispy on the outside, yet marshmallow-tender on the inside).
Carefully peel the parchment paper from the meringue and transfer it onto your cake stand.
Meanwhile, prepare the cream: In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream with sugar until thick. Spoon the mixture evenly into the center of the baked shell. Top with mixed berries. Decorate with fresh mint leaves. Sift some powdered sugar on top (just a little!). Serve immediately.
Remember, the cake should be assembled right before serving!. If you do this earlier, the meringue shell soak up the moisture from the cream and will collapse when you cut the cake.