Pavlova. Pavlooooooova. Named for Anna Pavlova, the famed Russian ballet dancer, after her tour to New Zealand in the 1920s. I learned this from Wikipedia.
The world’s largest pavlova, named ‘Pavkong,’ was made by some New Zealand students in 2005. Prior to this, the record for the largest pavlova was held by New Zealand’s national museum. It was named ‘Pavzilla.’
I didn’t go for the world record of largest pavlova (the most original names had already been taken), but I did create a mini version in addition to a regular-sized one to show you the technique of filling the meringue. And by “technique,” I mean “plopping some instant pudding and blueberries on top of a cookie.”
Sounds simple (it is), but the end result is a beautifully rustic dessert, that ends ups being really light. The fillings and flavors are endless. If you wanted something lighter, you could go with whipped cream and fresh fruit as a filling, which is a bit more classic.
This dessert is a celebration of eggs, clearly. They are the main ingredient, and with that yellow pudding thrown on top, it looks just like a deviled egg. Luckily, it doesn’t taste like a deviled egg. I mean, deviled eggs are scrumptious, don’t get me wrong; it’s just that if you tell someone, “Hey, try this blueberry lemon almond pavlova,” they will probably be expecting a flavor profile somewhere on the sweeter side of things. You don’t want to be accused of false advertising now, do you?
I thought blueberry and almond would be a nice complement to the lemon pudding, so I tried my hand at making a blueberry sauce. The sauce is akin to the blueberry syrup stuff you get at Perkins, uber-sweet, but alright for its function as pancake-dresser. I’ll go with fresh blueberries next time to balance the sweetness.
Blueberry Lemon Almond Pavlova
An LH original
For the pavlova:
6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar or caster sugar
pinch cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
scant 1/4 teaspoon almond oil or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, to taste
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment, and draw a circle about a foot in diameter on the parchment.
Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy, then gradually add the sugar. GRADUALLY. Let the mixture beat for 30 seconds to a minute after each tablespoon. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Beat in the cornstarch and salt, then fold in the almond oil.
Mound the meringue in the middle of the baking sheet, keeping inside the drawn circle. Smooth it out however you want; the meringue won’t spread out or change shape.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours, checking at 1 hour. The pavlova is done when it moves easily on the baking sheet. (Mine didn’t exactly), but I took it out anyway. It was fine. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet. Transfer to a serving plate.
For the lemon pudding:
Dig a box of off-brand instant lemon pudding out of your cupboard. Follow package directions and refrigerate. You’ll need 2 cups of milk.
For the blueberry sauce:
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, to taste
Bring the blueberries, water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of water. Add the cornstarch to the blueberries and cook until the sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract. Let cool, then refrigerate.
For the candied almond garnish:
Chuck 2 ounces sliced almonds, 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small frying pan. Boil until the water is gone and the almonds look shiny. Transfer to a sheet of waxed paper or parchment, breaking up the pieces. Let cool.
Note: I didn’t like this method; the almonds were chewy instead of crunchy. Try something else. Just Google it. There are way better ways to candy almonds.
To assemble the pavlova:
Move the pavlova from the baking sheet to a serving platter. Top first with the lemon pudding, then with the blueberry sauce, letting the sauce run down the sides of the pavlova. Garnish with candied almonds. To serve, dig in. There is no clean way to do this.