Given the restrictions placed on them, Passover desserts rarely dazzle. The no flour, no baking powder rule can mean having to rely on matzo cake flour, a substitution that often yields mediocre results. So I prefer to go with desserts containing nut flour or no flour at all. When a friend suggested a pavlova for Passover, (thanks Amy!), I got really excited. Meringue topped with whipped cream, fruit sauce, and fresh fruit, how can you go wrong?
Makes 1 - 9" round
For the meringue:
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup superfine sugar, made by processing granulated sugar in the food processor for a minute or two.
- 1/2 T. cornstarch
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1 t. distilled white vinegar
Preheat the oven to 250F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a pie or cake pan as a guide, trace a 9" circle on the paper. Turn the paper over to the other side.
Mix together the cornstarch and sugar in a small bowl and the vanilla and vinegar in another bowl. Set aside.
Using a stand or hand mixer, whip the egg whites on low speed, gradually increasing the speed to medium until they hold soft peaks. Begin adding the sugar mixture, one tablespoon at a time, allowing the sugar to incorporate into the whites before adding the next tablespoon. Gradually increase the speed of your mixer to maximum speed as you are adding the sugar. Beat until the meringue holds stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the vanilla and vinegar mixture into the meringue.
Scrape the mixture onto the parchment circle. Spread to fill the circle, shaping the sides slightly higher than the center.
Place into the oven on the lowest rack and immediately turn the oven down to 225F. Bake for about 65 minutes - 1 hour 15, until dry to the touch. Don't worry if cracks form on the crust. Turn the oven off, but leave the pavlova inside with the oven door ajar until completely cool, or overnight.
making the fruit sauce:
Makes 1-1/4 cups sauce
- 12 large strawberries
- 3 T. sugar
- 1 t. fresh lemon juice
Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Use strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, or fresh fruit of your choice.
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 2 T. powdered sugar
- 1/2 t. vanilla
Beat ingredients together in a mixer until stiff peaks are formed. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Assemble the pavlova right before serving. Gently remove the meringue from the parchment paper and carefully transfer to a serving platter. Spread the whipped cream over the top, leaving an edge. Top with fresh fruit and drizzle a small amount of the fruit sauce by the spoonful over the pavlova. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.
You can assemble the pavlova up to 1 hour before serving but do not refrigerate.
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