The Grace Of A Ballet Dancer

It is December!

And while almost everywhere in the world, it is getting colder by the minute and even snowing at some places, it is still warm here in Dubai. Yes Dubai is a warm place, but it feels warmer than usual at this time of year! Now, we would love a white Christmas over here too, however it is highly unlikely! But nothing can simulate an iceberg and the airy crispness of snow like a white Meringue with a serving of Vanilla ice cream together with the freshness of Berries! Yes, you guessed it: It is the best loved dessert with the grace of a Ballet dancer: The Pavlova.

Pavlova is a very famous desert and quite a retro one too. I like retro, but I also like to add my twist to things! I have gone for a soft Meringue in this recipe, one that has an ever so slight crunch on the outside and an almost marshmallowy texture on the inside. The Meringue alone has a pillow-like chew to it – kind of like the floating island feel, but with more density – one that will make you want to go on chewing for ever! With the melting of a creamy vanilla ice cream, and the tartness from the raspberry coulis and the berries, the experience is just Divine.

Meringue is one of my favourite desserts to use as an ingredient in the making of other desserts. I like to crumble it on top of fruit salads just before serving, also add it to dessert cups and puds, I find it to be very versatile and happen to love its texture. However if you want to know the real goodness of Meringue you have to try good quality ones rather than the store-bought stiff-as-a-rock variety that might break your teeth before you discover its flavour! I have extensively covered Meringue types and perfecting Meringue in a previous post (click here for the post) and I recommend that you read that post if you wish to perfect Meringue and Meringue desserts.

I have included for you a video of a fun chocolate Pavlova and lavender cream, thought it will be good for you to see one way of making a chocolate meringue.

Let’s get to it….


Serves: 6

For Meringue

  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 200 g Caster Sugar
  • 150 g Icing Sugar
  • 2 sachets powdered Vanilla Essence
  • a squeeze of lemon (few drops) or 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • Vanilla Ice Cream for serving

For Raspberry Coulis

  • 250g Fresh Raspberries
  • 2 tbsp Caster Sugar

For the Mixed Berries Topping

  • 1/4 cup Raspberries
  • 1/4 cup strawberries, quartered
  • 1/4 cup blackberries
  • 2 tbsp red currants
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • zest of 1/2 lime
  • 4 tbsp Caster sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Dried mint Leaves
  • 10 fresh mint leaves, Chiffonade
  • 2 turns of the mill, fresh black pepper

Soft White Meringue
For a slightly stiffer Meringue, turn the heat off and keep the meringue in the oven for 1 more hour. 

Preheat your oven to 120F and line baking sheets with baking paper.

Place the egg whites with a squeeze of lemon in the bowl of your electric mixer (or a regular  bowl) and mix on medium using the wire attachment, (or manually whisk) until the egg whites start to thicken and become white. In the meantime, mix the caster sugar and vanilla essence together. Add the caster sugar a little at a time to the beating egg whites, mixing well after each addition. Continue to beat until you reach a medium consistency (between stiff and soft peeks, check out instructions on ‘Understanding Meringue’ post). The Meringue should be pure white and shiny.

Gently fold in the sifted icing sugar.

For individual pavlovas, place large dollops of Meringue onto the lined baking sheets (otherwise drop the whole meringue over the lined sheet), sprinkle lightly with icing sugar and bake for 3 hours.

Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, then place in an airtight container until ready to use. If you want your meringue to be slightly stiffer, turn off the oven, and leave the meringues inside for an extra hour.

In the Meantime, prepare the Mixed Berries Topping
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix to coat. Leave to macerate for 1 hour at room temperature, then mix again and refrigerate until ready to use. You can use any berry you have available, or a mixture of berries, totally up to you.

Make the Raspberry Coulis
Place the raspberries together with the caster sugar in the blender and blend to incorporate. Push the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Discard the seeds and refrigerate the coulis until ready to use.

To serve individual pavlovas

Swirl some raspberry coulis at the bottom of your plate, place a piece of Meringue in the centre, top with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream then with the mixed berries. Drizzle slightly with more coulis. Serve immediately.


A very good way to use meringue leftovers:

  • Simply crumble some meringues, and place at the bottom of a bowl, top with a scoop of ice cream and then top with any leftover berries topping or any leftover fruit salad. Sprinkle more crumbled meringues on top.
  • You can even go for an Eton Mess, if you add some whipped cream and layer all in a cup! Very simple and messy but delicious.

How about you, which Meringue type do you prefer? Soft or hard? Are you more into Italian Meringues or the French way of making Meringues?


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