Although Australia and New Zealand dispute the origin of this dessert called pavlova or pavlova, the truth is that it was prepared for the first time to entertain the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova during her stay in a New Zealand hotel.
The chef of the house, Herbert Sachse, mounted some egg whites with sugar and then baked them, added whipped cream on top and finished it with an assortment of red fruits (raspberries, strawberries, currants, blueberries).
According to gastronomic documents, the creator of the meringue was the Italian pastry chef Gasparini, who lived in Meiringen (Switzerland). However, it was Sachse who got this recipe popularized in the world’s sweets recipe book.
Ingredients for a 6 portions cake
- 3 egg whites
- Twice the weight of egg whites in sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 10 g cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon lemon essence
- 200 ml of liquid cream to assemble
- 20 g icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and other red fruits
- Mint leaves
- Lemon zest
Step by step elaboration
- Weigh the whites and sugar.
- In a deep, clean and dry bowl, beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer until they make soft peaks.
- While stirring, add the sugar little by the little, tablespoon to a tablespoon, until finished. This can last approximately 10 minutes. Add the cornstarch and the lemon essence and stop beating when rubbing a little meringue between the thumb and the index, the sugar granule cannot be noticed.
- Place the meringue on a baking sheet covered with sulfurized paper. Shape rounded and make a slight hole in the center, not very deep.
- Place the tray in the oven, preheated to 100º C, and cook for 90 minutes.
- Once the meringue is cooked, remove from the oven and let it cool completely before filling.
- While the meringue is cooling, prepare the chantilly by whipping the cream (which should be very cold) with the icing sugar. When it is almost assembled, add the vanilla essence and finish it with care not to overdo it. Save in the fridge.
- Wash and dry the fruits thoroughly. In the case of strawberries, chop to taste.
Pavlova cake assembly
- Assemble at the time of serving so that the cream and fruits do not soften the meringue.
- Fill the meringue with whipped cream and cover with the red fruits.
- Grate a little lemon on the cake and decorate it with fresh mint leaves.
- Serve immediately.
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- The amount of meringue’s sugar can be reduced a little, but you should never have less weight as the whites.
- For meringue, it is better to use fresh egg whites. If pasteurized egg whites are used, it will be necessary to add albumin.
- Chantilly cream can be enriched with 50 grams of mascarpone cheese, which also provides more body and consistency.
- As a complement, when serving, we can prepare a coulis of red fruits or get a quick sauce by heating a little jam with water until it is homogeneous.