pavlova with crème fraîche and tropical fruit compote

DSC_0392All you need is love–with fruit and crème fraîche–to make this simple yet elegant dessert. It is a favorite among our friends. At dinner tonight at Robert’s I brought this pavlova with tropical fruit compote and crème fraîche for dessert.

Pavlova with Crème Fraîche and Tropical Fruit Compote
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking tme:75 minutes
Resting time: 2 hours

4 large (160 grams) egg whites, separate eggs while cold, then allow to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup (200 grams) superfine (caster) sugar (use superfine because it dissolves quicker)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour)

2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
2 bananas, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
2 cups pineapple chunks
2 cups dragon fruit chunks
1 mandarin orange segments with juice
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon mint, optional
1-2 tablespoons rum, optional
pinch of salt, optional
juice of half a lime
pulp of 6-8 passion fruits

Crème Fraîche
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt or a small carton of sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Prepare to bake. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (130 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw one 8-inch circle on the paper. Reverse the paper and place it on the baking sheet. This is the form for the meringue.

Cake Baker’s Note: For the next step, be sure the bowl and beaters are free of grease. Wash in soapy water and dry them. Then wipe them down with vinegar and a damp towel.

Make the meringue. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar. Beat on high speed until the egg whites hold soft peaks. Add vanilla (if using) and the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat on high speed. Scrape down the sides after the last spoonful of sugar. Continue whipping until the meringue holds very stiff and shiny peaks. Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch on top and gently fold.

Cake Baker’s Note: To fold, cut the whites with a silicone spatula and pull to the opposite end of bowl, then flip the spatula over. Turn the bowl one quarter turn and repeat. Continue folding and turning until the cornstarch is just combined.

Prepare to bake. Mound the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the sides, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. You want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.

Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the outside is dry and is a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off and let the meringue cool completely in the oven, about 2-3 hours. Don’t open the oven door.

Cake Baker’s Tip: The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you may get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and spongy, like a marshmallow.

The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, wrapped in plastic, in an airtight container, for a few days.

Decorate and serve. Just before serving carefully remove the parchment paper and gently place the meringue onto a serving plate.

Make the crème fraîche. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make the fruit compote. Squeeze a little lime on the cut bananas to prevent browning. Combine the ingredients the cut up fruits (reserve the passion fruit) and toss. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Assemble and serve the pavlova. Just before serving, cover the top of the meringue with the crème fraîche. Spoon the fruit on top. Drizzle passion fruit all over. Serve with extra fruit compote on the side.


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