Pavlova for Passover

Strudel and I typically only see each other once a year and it’s usually when she comes back to Denver to visit family during Passover.  Although she never feels too far away because of this blog, it’s so great to hug one of my favorite people in person!

For the second time my daughter, Addison, and I were invited to join the Seder feast and Strudel’s brother left us filled with many laughs and wonderful food.  Strudel’s brother was recently in Japan and I learned about these adorable characters, Sumikko Gurashi while snacking on appetizers…

When I asked what I could bring to dinner, Strudel told me dessert.  I’ll admit, I panicked a little.  What desserts can be eaten at Passover?  When I think dessert, I think flour and baking powder, eeek, not at Passover.  I shared my woes with a friend and she immediately suggested a pavlova.  With a little more research I discovered this would be a great dessert and I made these individually plated pavlovas based on a Smitten Kitchen recipe!

As we sat around the table eating this dessert last night, a dedicated follower of our blog, Mr. Yummy, inquired about the history of this dessert and I had no clue about the origins and promised to educate all of us today.

Australia and New Zealand have argued for decades about which country first created this dessert.  It appears it was New Zealand who has the first documented recipe in the 1920s for this dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who visited both countries in that same decade.  However, in recent research it appears this meringue dessert, although not called a pavlova, had it origins much earlier in Germany and gained popularity in the US in the late 1800s when a corn starch company started exporting the starch to New Zealand with a pavlova-ish recipe!

The big question when making a pavlova is what to do with all of those rich egg yolks.  I used mine to make pastry cream and make fruit tarts for Easter Brunch today with pâte sablée shells!

Berries and Cream Pavlovas

makes 12 individual servings

from Smitten Kitchen

 

Meringue

240 grams egg whites (I used duck and goose egg whites)

2 pinches of salt

2 c. sugar

1 T. arrowroot powder (fabulous stuff, available at my local grocery store)

1 t. vanilla bean paste

2 t. white vinegar

 

Topping

1 lb. fresh strawberries, diced

12 oz. fresh blackberries

1 pint whipping cream

1 T. sugar

1/2 t. vanilla bean paste

 

Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare two baking sheets (with edges, I’ll explain) with silicon mats or parchment paper and set aside. Combine the sugar and arrowroot, mixing thoroughly and set aside.  Mix the white vinegar and vanilla bean paste and set aside.

Beat the egg whites and salt together for a few minutes until soft peaks start to form.  Add the sugar and arrowroot mixture a half cup at a time and beat on high between each addition for about a minute.  Once all sugar is incorporated, add in the white vinegar mixture.  Beat on high for several minutes until stiff peaks form.  Pull the beater out of the meringue and when turned up if the peak stays in place, it is stiff enough.

With a large metal spoon place equal size dollops of meringue (6 on each baking sheet) with about 2 inches of space left in between.  Use the spoon to spread the circle to about 5 inches and at the same time create a divet in the center of each circle.  Place both sheets in the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the sheets in the oven (top to bottom and front to back) about half way through.

Side note:  I have a beautiful king Arthur flour baking sheet that only has a lip on one side and when I pulled this sheet out half way through baking to rotate that lovely silicon slid right off the baking sheet and meringue flopped onto the heating element below and caught on fire!  I would have taken a picture but my house was filling with smoke.  Hence the first 6 didn’t make it to the party and I had to make another half batch of these pavlovas!

After baking for 30 minutes, turn the oven off, slightly open the door and let the meringues stay in the oven for another 30 minutes.  They will crack slightly but the center should be marshmallowy.  I transported these meringues within a few hours of baking.

Right before leaving for the party, I whipped the pint of whipping cream with the tablespoon of sugar and vanilla bean paste and transported the prepared berries and cream in a small cooler to stay cold.  Right before serving, plate the meringues and top with a generous amount of whipped cream and berries.  No one left the Seder table hungry! These lovely macaroons, compliments of Strudel, helped finish off the meal…

It was so great to see my dear friend again and luckily it won’t be a whole year since we see each other since we will both be attending this year’s International Food Blogger conference in September!

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