For a perfect ending to your Easter Dinner, consider this Triple Berry Pavlova. This delicious and showstopping dessert is all about sublime textures. The crunchy, yet light as a cloud meringue is topped with billows of sweetened whipped cream, juicy ripe berries, and it is topped with a decadent, out of this world raspberry sauce. Pavlova is virtually the national dish of Australia, and it is claimed by New Zealand as well. Pavlova was named for the Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured both countries in 1926.
Today’s post for Triple Berry Pavlova wraps up my Traditional Easter Dinner series featuring Glazed Ham and Sweet Potato Casserole. You can’t go wrong with any of these dishes and your family and friends will be impressed. Best of all, these dishes can be prepped and partially made ahead of time so all you have to do on Easter is bring everything together to the accolades of your family and guests.
If you have made meringue before, you know sometimes it can be a little temperamental. If you follow these tips, your meringue will be perfect every time.
- Use superfine sugar or Caster Sugar. It melts quickly and your meringue won’t be gritty. I couldn’t find it at Publix, but did find it at Fresh Market. If you are in a pinch, you can put regular granulated sugar in your food processor fitted with a steel blade and process it until it is superfine.
- Don’t use packaged egg whites to make meringue. The pasteurization process can prevent egg whites from forming a stable meringue.
- Use fresh egg whites. Old egg whites tend to collapse when other ingredients are folded in, and they don’t rise well in the oven.
- Use eggs at room temperature. Cold egg whites tend to reduce meringue volume.
- Never let any yolk get into the whites.
- Don’t overbeat egg whites. (Overbeaten egg whites will look hard, lumpy or dry). When whipping egg whites, always start your mixer on medium-low to medium speed. Beat them until foamy and increase the speed to medium-high and then to high. If the egg whites are beaten too quickly at the beginning, the structure of the foam will not be as strong, and later the egg whites will not beat as high as they should.
- A small amount of cream of tartar or vinegar can be added to the mixture at the beginning of whipping to help stabilize the foam and make it less likely to collapse.
- Make sure your mixing bowl and beater are extra clean and don’t use plastic bowls – they can retain a film of fat from previously mixed or stored items that can deflate the meringue.
- Don’t make meringues on humid days. Humidity causes meringues to be sticky and chewy.
- Leave hard meringues in the oven after baking so they will cool slowly and not crack.
- Baked meringues should be stored in airtight, moisture-free containers. They can usually keep for a week at room temperature and up to a month in the freezer.
OK, now that you know everything there is to know about meringue, if you are ready, let’s get started. First, gather all of your ingredients: extra large eggs at room temperature, kosher salt, superfine sugar, cornstarch, white wine vinegar, vanilla extract, fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, whipping cream, and seedless raspberry jam.
I like to make all of the components a day or so ahead, and just assemble right before you are ready to serve this beautiful dessert.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Place a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper on a baking sheet. Using a 9-inch cake pan or plate as a guide, draw a circle around the plate or pan with a pencil. Turn the paper over so the pencil mark in on the reverse side. You should still be able to see it. **You can make individual desserts by drawing 4 3-4 inch rounds on the parchment paper.
Place the egg whites and salt in your mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium speed for about 1 minute, until they are foamy and starting to firm up. Switch the mixer to high and gradually add in the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time and beat until the whites are firm with shiny peaks. This should take about 2 minutes.
Sift the cornstarch on top of the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla and using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold these ingredients in until everything is thoroughly mixed.
Pour the meringue onto the parchment paper and smooth it out within the circle using an offset spatula.
Bake for 1-1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven. This should take about 1-2 hours, but you can actually leave it in the oven overnight. (If you are making the meringue ahead, you can store it in an airtight container for up to a week at room temperature.)
To make the raspberry sauce, place the raspberries, sugar and jam in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer on low for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Chill. (If you are making ahead, this can be kept covered in your refrigerator for several days.)
To make the whipped cream, add the cream to the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high for about 5 minutes. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until it is firm. (Cream whips best if it is very cold. I always put my mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the refrigerator to chill them too.) If making ahead, cover tightly and store in your refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Combine the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of the raspberry sauce, or enough to coat the berries. (If making ahead, cover tightly and store in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the Pavlova.)
When you are ready to serve, put the meringue disk on a large round plate or cake stand with a lip. Spread the whipped cream over the top. Cover the whipped cream evenly with the berry mixture, then pour the raspberry sauce over the top. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
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