A delicious fruit pavlova recipe for you to try out. Meringue with a crisp outer shell and pillowy soft centre, topped with whipped cream, toffee sauce and roasted plums and fresh figs. This is sure to satisfy any meringue lovers cravings.
Having spent 15 year in Australia I quickly learnt whilst living there that the mighty fruit Pavlova would grace our table on many an occasion. Namely Australia Day. This celebratory day is one of my fondest memories from my many years of living in beautiful Sydney.
Whether it was spending the day with friends or family enjoying a backyard BBQ, or a morning down at one of our many local beaches, Australia Day was always without fail a day of fun. The Aussie spirit on such a day is second to none, filled with camaraderie, mate-ship and a sense of fair-go ... it’s ultimately a day to celebrate Australia’s land, people and diversity.
Where does Pavlova originate from?
It's traditionally one of the favoured desserts enjoyed by Australians on Australia Day but the history of this delicious dessert is unclear and a teeny bit controversial. There’s a long-held rivalry between the New Zealanders and Australians as to who created the Pavlova, each claiming it as their own.
However, legend has it that a Perth restauranteur was so inspired by the tutu of a world-famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who was touring at the time. So, he created a light meringue dessert topped with whipped cream and passion fruit and one of his clienteles declared it ‘light as Pavlova’. And so, a national dessert was born.
Regardless of its contentious origins, this dessert is so embedded in the national identity of Australia - there is nothing more Australian than having a bbq, swim in the sea or game of backyard cricket followed by a Pavlova shared with family and friends.
It makes me smile just thinking about the many times we’ve enjoyed a good ol’ fruit pavlova..
Exactly what is a pavlova?
It’s made of egg whites and sugar and whipped until they are light and billowy in texture. Then it’s baked on a really low heat over a long period of time. This allows the outside of the egg white to dry out and turn crispy whilst the inside stays soft and marshmallowy in texture.
Tips on succeeding with your pavlova
Over the years I’ve had some hits and many more misses with meringue where it goes in the oven looking billowy, light and spectacular and two hours later it's spread and hasn’t maintained its shape. But if this is the case as long as it tastes good then crumbling it into individual glasses and topping with cream and fruit - gets you out of trouble every time!!! (A take on eton mess if you think about it!).
After many attempts I finally have a recipe that works for me and as long as you follow my main tips then you will come out with a beautiful looking pavlova.
The main tips that I can give you are:
Use a clean, dry bowl.
Ensure your bowl is clean and dry before whipping your egg whites. Any residual moisture or grease will prevent your egg whites from whipping.
Whip meringue on low initially.
When mixing your egg whites and sugar, start the mixer on low and whip the meringue for three minutes before turning up the mixer to medium speed. This ensures that the caster sugar has started the process of dissolving into the egg whites. After we turn it up until all the caster sugar has been incorporated and the egg mixture and has no grit when rubbing some between your fingers.
Check oven temperature.
Turn your oven down to recommended temperature the minute the meringue goes in the oven. Low and slow is key to keeping the meringue pure white and crisp.
Don’t open the oven door.
Don’t, whatever you do, open the oven door as any moisture in the air can soften the meringues crisp shell. Leave the meringue in the oven until it has completely cooled (minimum 2 hours cooling time, but better to leave it for 4 hours)
What are other flavour combinations can I add to a pavlova?
Roasted plum and fig has to be one of my top fruit pavlova combinations, they epitomise summer for me but there are so many other combinations for you to try out, such as these:
- Whipped cream with passion fruit pulp and slices of mango – the ultimate tropical dessert.
- Crème Chantilly (whipped cream with vanilla extract and icing sugar to flavour and sweeten it), fresh strawberries and mint leaves – a take on the British Eton Mess.
- Black cherries, chocolate and cream – my take on the Black Forest Gateaux classic.
- Raspberry coulis, fresh raspberries and blackberries- embrace that summer vibe.
- Chocolate whipped cream, crumbled oreo cookies and chocolate sauce – chocolate lovers dream!
- Brown sugar roast peaches and cream - made by my blogging buddy, Deb from Salted Mint. Take a look at her recipe here.
If you want a simple to make afternoon treat with one of my favourite fruits to bake with then I reckon you’ll love my Chocolate Raspberry Crumble Bars. Find the recipe here.
Roasted Plum and Fig Pavlova
- 6 large egg whites
- 440 g caster sugar (superfine)
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice or white vinegar
- 55 g unsalted butter
- 60 g granulated sugar
- 60 ml double cream (heavy cream), heavy cream
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 360 ml double cream (heavy cream), heavy cream
- 4 plums, cut in half and de-stoned
- 3 figs, quartered
- Couple of springs of thyme for decoration, optional
- Heat your oven to 140°C (275°F). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and trace a circle 20cm (8-inch) diameter. This circle should be smaller than the plate or cake stand you are serving your pavlova on. Turn the parchment paper over so that the pen/pencil line is underneath.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip your egg whites on low speed for 3 minutes until they are firm.
- Turn the mixer up to medium speed, and whilst whisking, add the caster sugar one spoonful at a time. (In between each spoon, whisk for 15 seconds before adding the next spoonful). Once all the sugar is added, continue whisking for 6 more minutes.
- Then add the lemon juice or white vinegar and whisk for another 4 minutes. By now, the egg white mixture should be thick and glossy, and the sugar should be fully incorporated. If you rub a bit of mixture between your thumb and finger, there should be no grit as the sugar has fully blended; if there is, then continuing whipping for a couple more minutes.
- Scoop the meringue mixture onto your prepared tray into the circle that you’ve drawn. Spread out the meringue with an offset spatula to create a large meringue nest with soft peaks rising all around.
- Place the baking tray in the centre of the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 110°C (230°F) and bake for 2 ½ hours. Then turn the oven off and leave in the oven for a minimum of 2 hours (preferably over-night), to cool completely. It would be best if you didn’t open the oven door during this time.
- 1 hour before you are ready to serve. Roast the plums. Pre-heat oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place plum on prepared tray cut side up and brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar—Bake in the oven for 15 mins or until juices runoff. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Place sugar and butter in a medium saucepan on your stovetop. Over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar until the mixture turns a deep amber colour. Carefully pour in the cream and vanilla, be careful as the mixture will bubble. Stir continuously until heated and sauce is thickened and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl, and set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream on medium until soft peaks form, taking care not to overbeat.
- Spoon the cream onto the centre of the meringue, drizzle with toffee sauce and scoop on roasted plums and figs. Sprinkle with springs of thyme. And enjoy!
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.