Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Mini Pavlovas with Berries

Pavlova is a meringue based dessert, which is the Pièce de résistance of any dinner party. Pavlova is named after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who was the first ballerina to tour ballet around the world.. She was also famous for her love of pastries and different jams, which she explored on her journeys. The meringue of Pavlova is light and airy, similar to the graceful movements of a ballerina. Crispy crust of Pavlova, topped with rich whip cream and fresh berries is a heavenly treat to anyone who loves elegant, light but satisfying desserts. I like to top my plated dessert with a light dusting of powdered sugar, which creates another thin layer of flavour and it looks like the first snow on colourful berries...


Pavlovas: 4 egg whites, at room temperature, 1 cup of fine baker's sugar, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, 2 tablespoons lemon zest.
Berries: 1 cup fresh raspberries, 1 cup fresh blackberries or blueberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.

Pavlovas: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until thick, about 2 minutes. With the machine on medium-high speed, gradually add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the salt, cream of tartar and lemon zest. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drop 8 (1/2) cupfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Using the back of a spoon make a 1 1/2-inch diameter well in the center of each meringue. Bake for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven for 2 hours.

Berries: In a small bowl, toss together the berries, sugar and lemon juice. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Assembly: Put the meringues on small plates and spoon a dollop of rich cream into the wells. Top with the berries and serve.

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