If you've been making ice cream or custard, you likely have a stash of egg whites in your refrigerator. One easy way to use them up is to make a Pavlova, a light cloud of meringue typically topped with whipped cream, fresh strawberries, passion fruit and kiwi.
Feel free to create your own favorite fruit combination. I like to pair pavlova with tart fruit, the sharp acidity balancing the sweetness of the crispy meringue and the luxuriousness of whipped cream. Here I use fresh plums because they were calling out to me at the market and because I love them. And I like the bright color of dark purple plums and bright green kiwi against the stark white base.
The pavlova dries out in a low and slow oven to the produce the right texture. I've simmered the plums a bit to soften them and bring out their juices but that may not be necessary if you have very ripe plums at the ready.
Enjoy an end-of-summer fruit pavlova as we transition into a glorious fall season!
A note of gratitude: This week marks my 5th year of blogging! I want to thank all my incredible readers for your support. Thank you for sharing your own special brand of creativity here in the comments and on your own blogs, which makes it so much more fun and interesting. Let's dedicate ourselves to finding lots more inspiration in the year ahead!
- Egg whites are easiest to separate when cold but achieve their best volume when they have warmed to room temperature.
-Fat is the enemy of meringue. Be sure your mixing bowl and whisk are clean, dry and free of any fat (no traces of egg yolk, butter, oil, nuts or chocolate present). If there is even a speck of fat, your egg whites will refuse to cooperate!
- Most recipes for meringue include salt and/or an acid. A pinch of salt helps to firm up the egg protein. An acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice or vinegar, stabilizes the meringue by preventing the air bubbles from bursting once you stop beating. Cream of tartar is an acid salt.
- If you have any leftover meringue, make some additional smaller discs for individual meringues or pipe small dollops for cookies to sandwich with jam or chocolate ganache. Just pipe them on a separate baking sheet and remove them after about an hour or so. Unfilled, they'll keep in an airtight conatiner for about a week if you're not in a very humid environment.
Plum & Kiwi Pavlova
Makes about 8 servings
3 egg whites @ room temperature
3/4 C sugar
1/4 t cream of tartar
3/4 C heavy cream, chilled
2 t sugar
1/4 t vanilla
1 - 2 kiwi
3 black or Santa Rosa plums
1/2 C water (optional)
3 T sugar (optional)
1/4 vanilla bean (optional)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on medium low speed. Add cream of tartar when they are foamy. Increase speed to medium high and continue whisking until they are opaque. Slowly add sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time and continue whipping until meringue forms very stiff shiny peaks that hold their shape.
Drop meringue by spoonfuls onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread it out to a 9" - 10" round, using a light tough and letting it take its own cloud-like form with a slight indentation in the center area.
Place in the oven and bake for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until meringue is dry and easily releases from the parchment. Turn off the oven and let it dry for another 1/2 hour, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
When ready to serve, slice plums into wedges and peel and slice kiwi. Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla just until it forms soft peaks. Place the disc of meringue on a serving platter. Spread the cream across the disc and distribute the kiwi and the plums. Serve immediately.
If you'd like your plums softened a bit, bring water, sugar and vanilla bean to a slow boil for about 2 - 3 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Lower heat and add plums. Gently simmer for 3 - 5 minutes until fruit is tender. Remove from heat and cool before serving.