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.


from Bangkok with love: pavlova with tropical fruit

My last recipe post was over two weeks ago!

That’s because I was packing, cleaning out the refrigerator in the Teeny Tiny Apartment, flying to Bangkok,  and getting over jet lag. Now that I’m recovered, I’m baking again. I’ve always wanted to try making this pavlova with tropical fruit. It’s superb with raspberries but divine with mango, kiwi, and passion fruit.

Make sure you have this mis en place:

4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup superfine/caster sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons superfine/caster sugar
1 mango diced
1 kiwi sliced and quartered
2 passion fruit, seeds and pulp only

Preheat the oven 250˚F. Prepare a baking tray with a 6-8 inch circle drawn in the center of a sheet of parchment. I ran out of parchment so I used a silicone liner. It worked!

In Bangkok, it is “winter”–meaning it is cool and not as humid–perfect weather to make the meringue. To make the meringue, separate 4 eggs while cold. Allow the whites to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Whip the whites until foamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar and continue beating until blended. Add one cup of superfine/caster sugar one tablespoon at a time until blended. Continue whipping until the whites turn smooth and satiny. When you lift the beaters, the peaks should be stiff, the tips just curling over.

Scrape the meringue into the center of the circle. I didn’t want to draw on the silicone liner so I just guessed  the circle’s diameter would be  8 inches. Mound the meringue leaving a slight well in the center. Bake 60-75 minutes. Then turn off the oven and let the meringue dry out, about 2-3 hours. I was in a rush so I took it out after 1 hour before it had thoroughly cooled. As a result, the meringue crust was slightly chewy rather than crisp.

Beat the whipping cream with two tablespoons sugar. Spread the cream in the center of the meringue. If the shell cracks and breaks, don’t worry. In a bowl, gently toss the mango and kiwi together. Pour on top of the whipped cream. Sprinkle the passion fruit on top. Serve with a spoon!

Cake Baker’s Note: Choose wrinkled passion fruit as they will be the ripest. To cut open a passion fruit make the first cut at one of the poles. Don’t try to slice through the whole fruit but slice through the rind one hemisphere at a time. Scoop out the seeds and the pulp. Discard the “shells.”

strawberry pavlova

Today is John’s birthday. I thought I would make him a white cake, his favorite, and a pavlova, as I discovered this summer, is really easy to make. A pavlova consists of a baked meringue disk topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. This recipe was originally from which I adapted. I also used strawberries instead of kiwi.

4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups white superfine (caster) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar, optional
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced (6 kiwis, peeled and sliced, in original recipe)

1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9 inch circle on the parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Over-beaten egg whites lose volume and deflate when folded into other ingredients. Be absolutely sure not a particle of grease or egg yolk gets into the whites. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently fold in the lemon juice and cornstarch.

3. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center.

4. Bake for 1 hour. Cracks will form in the meringue. Cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar. Transfer to a wire rack. The meringue disk can be made a day ahead, cooled, then wrapped airtight in plastic.

5. In a medium bowl beat heavy cream on high speed. Sweeten, if desired, with two tablespoons sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Carefully remove the paper from the cooled meringue disk, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Using a large pancake turner will help as the meringue is fragile. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream. Top whipped cream with strawberries slices. Chill until ready to serve.