When a ballerina serves as an inspiration for the cake, it must be a light one, right? Pavlova is a perfect summer dessert – light, delicate, and perfectly matched with seasonal fruit! It is so simple, yet elegant, and it allows you yo express your creativity!
Pavlova is a world-known dessert originating from either Australia or New Zealand. It was created by an early 20th-century chef during the famous prima ballerina’s visit. Nowadays, it is a typical summer dessert all over the world. The Aussies and Kiwis like to serve it as a holiday dessert.
Pavlova cake commonly consists of 3 layers – the meringue-like layer, the cream, and the fruit layer. I say merengue-like because unlike the merengue, the middle of this crust should not be solid, but more marshmallowy.
The cream can be either whipping cream, cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, or the combination of these. Whenever I can, I choose whipping cream combined with mascarpone. That is the taste and texture I prefer. It has mascarpone’s richness and creaminess, while the whipping cream lightens it out.
The fruit is entirely up to you to choose. My favorite fruit is all sorts of berries, so that’s what I can recommend. However, people make Pavlova with kiwi, passion fruit, lemon curd, peaches… basically whichever fruit you like.
When you make the crust, you will need to use sweetener. I strongly recommend erythritol-based sweeteners. In baking, they tend to behave most alike to sugar, unlike xylitol-based ones. I haven’t tried monk fruit for this kind of crust (if you have, feel free to leave a comment below).
Baking a meringue-like crust can be rather tricky. You need to know your oven, first of all. I made one big crust which I baked for over 3 hours. You can make two thinner ones, and double the number of layers of the cake. In that case, you need to adjust the time of baking. My oven has a ventilator, so I don’t actually bake the crust, I dry it. If you don’t have it, I suggest longer baking time at a lower temperature (50-75 degrees Celsius).
I always bake the crust the night before. Firstly, it leaves me time to bake another one if the first one turns out to be a disaster. Secondly, I want it to completely cool down. If you do that, leave it out in the open overnight. Do not put it in the fridge, it might pick up the smell of other food from the refrigerator. Also, it will definitely absorb some moisture from the fridge, and it won’t be as crispy.
You should adjust the amount of sweetener to your taste. I like to add sweetener to the crust only, and non of it in the cream. You can do half and half, or add more sweetener for the cream. The amount in the ingredients list is for the crust solely.
This cake is best eaten straight away while it is still crisp and crunchy. If you leave it filled overnight, the crust will lose its crisp. So, I suggest adding the cream and the fruits right before serving it.
Since you’re using only the egg whites for this recipe, you can make some homemade mayo with the egg yolks!