Vanilla Cloud (aka Pavlova) for Busy People

Spring is a busy time for everyone. The unhappy task of apartment cleaning somehow takes up your entire Saturday, the office suddenly decides to need you on Friday until 9pm, and don’t even get me started on Easter travel. It takes a week to mentally prepare myself for the hordes of children racing around the airport, tripping on suitcases and screaming in a mini-egg -induced stupor. The sun feels warmer now, so naturally you must take advantage of the extra daylight and this means you do not want to be in your kitchen making dessert for that dinner party you pretty much forgot about. This is perfect recipe for you busy people who need something dreamy and gorgeous to present to a crowd, but just don’t really have the time to bake a 6 layer cake with pistachio buttercream (does anyone? jk we know Martha and Ina like to throw up a good 6 layer cake on the regular).

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Pavlova is a light dessert (think marshmallow fluff with a meringue crust) travels well, takes few skills in the kitchen and is SO versatile. You can use coconut whipped cream instead of regular for dairy issues, add some flavour to the filling (mint! lemon zest! cocoa! rum!), throw whatever you like on top (chocolate shavings! bananas + caramel! raspberry coulis!) This one is simple and spring-inspired, with pretty pastel-pink meringue because of the vanilla extract.

Makes 1 pavlova that serves 4-6. You can easily double this recipe for a big crowd.

pavlova

2 egg whites (room temperature)

pinch of salt

3/4 cups superfine sugar (you can use granulated, but it won’t dissolve nearly as well)

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

filling

1 cup whipping (heavy) cream

lime zest

2 tbsp liquid honey

fruit for topping (I used coconut shavings, blueberries & raspberries, and passion fruit)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear off a sheet of parchment big enough to cover a baking sheet, trace a circle in pencil. This helps guide the shape of your pavolva so it doesn’t look like an ugly blob. Flip the paper over and place on your baking sheet.
  2. Whip egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment for about 5 minutes until they are thick and stiff, starting with mixer on low and building up. Basically, if you dip the back of a spoon into the egg whites, there should be shiny, satiny peaks that fall over but still hold shape.
  3. Start beating in sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until you get shiny, stiff peaks. This should take about 4-5 minutes. Make sure when you take the whisk out, the peaks stay in place and are stiff (the very tip may fall over, but the rest will stay up!). Better to overwhip than underwhip!
  4. Add cornstarch, vanilla, white wine vinegar and FOLD in gently with a spatula. Now, take a spoon and pour the meringue into a pile in the middle of your drawn-on circle. Spread it out so there is a bit of a lip at the sides of the circle, and a dent in the middle.
  5. Place in oven and reduce heat to 300 right away. Let bake for 60-70 minutes, until hard and golden. Remove from oven and let cool. Some recipes say to let cool in oven which you can do too, but if you are in a rush, it’s just fine to cool on the counter. 
  6. Whip the cream until thick, add honey and lime zest.
  7. Spoon cream onto pavlova, leaving a slight border around the edges. Place fruit on top and add some lime zest to finish
  8. Let sit for at least 20 minutes, up to 2 hours.

 

 

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