Find your Christmas Pavlova to suit EVERYone this Festive Season.
I refuse to get into the New Zealand/Australia debate over the origins of this famous dessert… all we really need to acknowledge is it’s a great one! The famous Pavlova is a national staple regardless of its beginnings, but did you know its one of the few desserts that can be tweaked to suit almost every diet? It’s true… even Vegan (see our plant-based version at the end of the post!).
For an authentic marshmallow-y meringue texture, it’s inevitable it will not adhere to every stricture given by the ‘Health Police’, but then again even they are on holiday this time of year. Enjoy the festive season but balance it out with some goodness and you won’t feel the need for so-called ‘detoxes’ come the New Year.
A Pavlova is also incredibly versatile, its adornments needn’t be restricted so you can let your imagination run wild, we’ve included a few fun ideas on top of a more un-refined version of this National favourite.
‘Healthified’ Pavlova Base
(adapted from theworldofpaleo.com)
4 Egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of Coconut sugar
1 Tbsp arrowroot (or Cornflour)
- Pulse the coconut sugar in a food processor so it becomes extra fine and reminiscent of caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Place the egg and cream of tartar in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until stiff peaks form (approximately 3-4 minutes)
- Add the vanilla extract.
- Combine the sugar and arrowroot, and mixing on medium speed, gradually add the sugar mixture until all ingredients are combined.
- Mound the meringue on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, into a round shape of approximately 15cm.
- Put down the oven temperature to 150C and bake for one hour. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven to cool completely.
- Use simply whipped double cream to fill your Pavlova. If you are watching your fat content, halve the amount of whipped cream and make it up with plain Greek yoghurt – fold through the cream and add a little honey or icing sugar, and a dash of vanilla.
It does look beautiful to top a Pav with the traditional medley of sliced fruit, drizzled in passionfruit. But there are many MANY variations, and you can really spice things up for this time of year and create an unforgettable dessert, so by all means enjoy the sliced banana/kiwi/strawberry combo, but if you feel like getting a little more creative take a look at some of these delicious ideas!
Raspberries & Cream:
Simmer 1 ½ cups of frozen raspberries with a couple of tablespoons of honey (or caster sugar), and a splash of orange or lemon juice, until you get a rich raspberry sauce. Strain through a sieve, place back on the heat and add about a teaspoon of cornflour that has been dissolved in a little of the hot raspberry liquid, and stir till thickened. Once cool, pour over the Pavlova and top with fresh raspberries.
All you need is a can of Top ‘n’ Fill Caramel or a jar of Dulce de Leche, drape over the Pav and top with sliced Banana’s – super easy and super decadent.
Preheat the oven to 200C and place some halved strawberries in a small-medium baking dish, squeeze over some orange juice or even a dash of water, along with a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2-4 tablespoons of raw sugar. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until strawberries are softened and juices have thickened slightly and pour over the Pavlova once cooled.
Add some lime or lemon zest to the cream before whipping, and top with a good quality store-bought lemon curd and some toasted almond flakes. So Easy!!!
Peaches & Plums:
Stewing plums is incredible, it concentrates the fruits already intense sweet and sour flavours as well as the beautiful colours and adding a sliced peach will sweeten it further. Simply simmer a few cut up plums and peaches with a couple of tablespoons of sugar or honey, a dash of water, and perhaps a sprinkle of cinnamon and vanilla. Once cool, pour over the pav, peeling off the skins if you like them smooth.
The glorious shiny hue of this superfood compote will have you salivating, but leave you feeling virtuous. Simply bring 1 ½ cups of blueberries with ½ cup maple syrup to the boil, and simmer on a low heat for 2-3 minutes and use when completely cool.
(courtesy of The Great British Bakeoff)
If you’re a vegan, a pro at following a plant-based diet, or like me have watched enough food network shows to last you a life-time, you might already know what aquafaba is. If you do not, it’s a great time to be alive, because its true… you can make Meringue from Chickpea water.
So how to do it? You will need:
200mL aquafaba (drained from about 1 ½ cans of chickpeas)
½ tsp cream of tartar
270g caster sugar
½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped (or ½ tsp vanilla extract)
1 tsp xanthum gum
- Heat oven to 120C. Draw a 20cm circle on two sheets of baking paper and place upside down on baking trays (just so you can see the marking of the pen through the paper)
- To make the meringue, pour the aquafaba into a large bowl with the cream of tartar. With electric beaters, whisk on medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until foaming. Increase the speed to high and whisk for 5-10 minutes to stiff peaks.
- Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, add the vanilla and sift the xanthum gum over the meringue and whisk for a further 30 seconds.
- Either with a spoon, or if you want to be decorative use a large piping bag to pipe the meringue onto the sheets of baking paper, to form 2 discs.
- Bake meringues for 1 hour 15 minutes, until crisp and dry. Removing from the oven to cool and ready to top.
Whipped Coconut Cream filling
1 400g tin Coconut Cream (chilled in the fridge overnight)
1 tsp honey (interchange with agave or maple syrup if vegan)
- Open the can of chilled coconut cream and place the hardened layer and honey into a pre-chilled mixing bowl. Whip the coconut cream on high for 3-5 minutes or until soft peaks form then refrigerate
Note: A flavoured or plain good quality Coconut yoghurt would also make a lovely, fuss-free filling.
I hope you enjoy one of the many ways you can jazz up your Pav! Put your spin on it and have a wonderful Christmas this year!