The Christmas Pavlova

The Christmas Pavlova

I had too many eggs. A week ago, a special from a big box store offered an irresistible 48 eggs for $7.99.

I had too many eggs. A week ago, a special from a big box store offered an irresistible 48 eggs for $7.99.

Four quiches and several batches of cookies later, I had only used up half this amount.

Christmas is upon us, and my dessert option for our party of twenty suggested itself: Pavlova.

This Australian dessert is often the cook’s choice for a warm-weather Christmas. It is simple to make and can be done ahead. The meringue base can be frozen. On Christmas Day, remove the snow-white shell from the freezer in the morning. Let it thaw on the countertop and then fill it with whipped cream (or ice cream) and fruit to suit the season. I’ll use raspberries and/or strawberries. Maybe add some pomegranate seeds for garnish and a little tang.

This recipe has appeared before in my posts. It is so good that I offer it again.

6-8 egg whites (depending on number of guests)
1 cup superfine sugar (make by whizzing granulated sugar in the blender)
1 tsp distilled white vinegar

1-pint whipping cream or vanilla ice cream if in a hurry
1 tbs confectioners' sugar if using real cream
3/4 lb fresh raspberries, strawberries, etc. washed and dried with a paper towel
A fistful of pomegranate seeds
I like to macerate the fruit in 2 tbs sugar for an hour or two before serving, but this is to taste

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Take a pizza pan or cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper. Cut the paper into a 9-inch circle, or the size to fit your serving plate or cake stand.

In a stand mixer, whip the egg whites to a froth, then till soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating constantly, then the vinegar. Whip it all up till the mixture stands up in stiff peaks.

With a spatula, place a big glob of the egg white mixture onto the middle of the parchment circle. Spread it out and create a hilly circle with the rest of the egg whites around the circumference. (Because the whites have been so thoroughly whipped, this will not fall.)

Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Then without disturbing the pavlova, turn off the oven open the oven door a little bit, and let the pavlova sit in the cooling oven so that it reaches room temperature – 30 minutes to one hour.

To freeze the pavlova for later use, place it in its pan, uncovered, in your freezer. If the baking tray is too large, carefully slide the meringue onto a flat tray or large plate first.

After two hours, check that the meringue is stiff and frozen. Remove from the freezer and wrap it in freezer paper, then slide this very carefully into a freezer bag. Squeeze out the air before placing it back into the freezer. Use within a month.

On the big day, remove from the freezer and let thaw on the counter for two and a half hours.

When ready to serve, whip cream with 1 tbs confectioners' sugar until stiff. With a spatula, lay the cream over the pavlova to the edges. It will look hilly. Then put your fruit in the middle of the cream and serve.

If you are bringing your pavlova to another house, I suggest placing the unfilled base in a cake carrier, bringing the macerated fruit in a separate container, and providing vanilla ice cream instead of whipped cream to hold the fruit in place over the meringue. It is hard for the whipped cream to hold its peaks over time, but the ice cream just needs to thaw enough for easy scooping.


And I wish you a very happy holiday and many blessings in the New Year.