Pavlova, a meringue-based dessert (named for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova), is a perfect dessert for Pesach. Aside from being light, sweet, and a showstopper, it is naturally chometz-free and doesn’t require much in the way of substitutions. Pavlova is quick to prepare and variations are limitless. Follow these handy tips and unleash your creativity.
Basic Pavlova Recipe
- Cooking and Prep: 1.5 h
- Serves: 8
Prepare the Meringue
Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit (135 degrees Celsius).
Trace an eight-inch (20-centimeter) circle on a sheet of Gefen Easy Baking Parchment Paper and flip over onto a baking sheet.
Using an electric mixer, start beating the egg whites. When they are foamy, add sugar one tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Continue to mix on high until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold in potato starch, lemon juice, and vanilla.
Pile meringue onto the prepared circle. Using a spoon, spread the meringue towards the outside of the circle, building a wall with a crater in the center.
Bake meringue for one hour and 15 minutes. When the baking is done, prop the oven door open slightly (using a wooden spoon), and allow to cool for several hours.
• Make sure to use a completely dry mixing bowl, preferably made of metal or glass. Any trace of water or oils can ruin your meringue.
• When separating your egg whites, if an egg breaks, put it aside for another use. Do not attempt to scoop out the yolk, as the slightest amount of yolk will prevent your egg whites from stiffening.
• Room temperature egg whites beat up much better than cold ones do.
• Pavlova should have a crisp outside shell and a soft, marshmallow-like inside. The starch and acid help achieve the correct texture. Also make sure to fully dry your meringue in the oven before removing it.
• Make sure your sugar is fully incorporated into the beaten egg whites by rubbing a small bit of the mixture between your fingers to check for graininess. If the sugar is not fully dissolved, your meringue will “weep” (liquid will leak out of it).
Prepare the Filling
Beat the parve whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add in vanilla pudding mix and continue to beat until stiff. Fold in diced strawberries.
Use chocolate pudding mix instead of vanilla for a chocolate filling, and garnish with chocolate shavings and chopped nuts, or use a lemon curd filling topped with blueberries and lemon rind.
Before serving, fill the meringue with strawberry cream and decorate with diced fruit.
Meringue and cream filling can both be prepared a day ahead, but the pavlova should be assembled as close as possible to serving, as the filling will soften the meringue shell.
Photography by Saraizel Senderovits