Truth be told, I was not a fan of pavlovas. The first time I had one was years ago and I remember nothing except for the very sweet taste and the headache I suffered afterwards. Not a fond memory, I must say. I found it odd how one was able to enjoy it because all I could taste was sugar. Fast forward today, I see pavlovas are making their way on to the dessert tables in weddings and whatnot. That was enough to trigger my curiosity and give pavlova another try.
I read somewhere on the internet that the key to a perfect pavlova recipe is the 1:2 ratio of egg whites to sugar. Meaning whatever the weight of your egg whites, you should add double that amount of weight of sugar into your meringue. *gasp* that’s a lot of sugar! Despite my hesitation on the amount of sugar, I went ahead and baked a pavlova for myself – topped with unsweetened whipped cream and strawberries. IT WAS VERY, VERY, VERY SWEET! Omaigaddd!
I cannot tahan! So I played around with egg whites and the amount of sugar and I think this pavlova recipe is okay, definitely less sweet than what I have tasted before. Other than that, in one of Kak Yani’s classes, she added strawberry compote (you can substitute with lemon curd) to the topping to balance out the sweetness of the meringue. Also, if there’s anything that I picked up from her baking class, always add a pinch of salt to everything.If you notice, my meringue recipe does not include any form of acid. No cream of tartar, no lemon juice, no vinegar. Nada. The end result would still be marshmallowy inside but less chewy, the kind that won’t get stuck to your teeth (is it just me, or does everyone else too have this problem when eating pavlovas?). If you prefer the usual chewy marshmallowy texture, you can add ½ teaspoon of white vinegar/lemon juice/ 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar.
Mini Pavlova (less sweet)Print Recipe
- 70g egg whites (from 2 large eggs)
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Strawberry compote
- 90g strawberry (or any mixed of berries you like)
- 45g strawberry jam (or any flavour of jam you like)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Strawberry compote
- 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream, more if you love cream
- Cocoa powder for dusting
- Strawberries & blueberries
For the meringue
Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Add egg whites and a pinch of salt into a clean bowl. With an electric hand mixer, whisk until all egg whites become frothy then gradually add the icing sugar
Keep whisking until firm peak is formed (see picture below). Then add vanilla extract and corn flour (you can add colour at this stage if you wish) and whisk for a few seconds just to get everything incorporated.
Transfer the meringue into a piping bag fitted with an open star nozzle, pipe the meringue into a 4" diameter nest. Bake at 110°C for 1 hour 15 minutes. Once baked, turn off the oven and let cool completely in the oven with the door closed. Mine took about 40 minutes.
For strawberry compote
While the pavlova is baking in the oven, start making strawberry compote. Add all ingredients into a saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes or until the fresh berries soften and break easily with the back of the spatula. Check for taste, if it's too sweet, add more fresh strawberries or lemon juice. The idea is to use this compote to counteract the sweetness from the meringue so avoid adding too much sugar. Let cool completely.
When you are ready to assemble the pavlova, whisk heavy cream until firm. Spoon it on top of the meringue, then add about a teaspoon (or more) strawberry compote on the whipped cream, sprinkle with some cocoa powder and finish off with fresh berries. Serve immediately.
My note text here..
- The meringue nest will get 'softer' the longer you let it sit after topping it with any form of liquid. Make sure to serve it right after the assembly. I personally like my pavlova a little soft (weird, I know) so I won't mind letting it sit for awhile before digging in.
- You can make the meringue nests earlier and keep them in an air tight container until they are ready to be assembled and served.