The Ultimate Gingerbread Cookies

‘Tis the season for sugar and sweets, and there’s nothing that says the holiday season more than making gingerbread cookies. While sugar cookies are great for decorating, I prefer my cookies to be thick, chewy and full of spice, so … Continue reading

Pavlovas: The Elegant and Easy Dessert

Pavlova with Mixed Berry Compote & Dark Chocolate

I have an addiction to using piping bags and I wanted to try making this traditional dessert for a dinner party since I had never made meringue before. Experiment with different pastry tips, fillings, sauces and have fun making this recipe your own.

Pavlova recipe adapted from Alton Brown. Serves 6 individual portions.

  • 4 ounces Egg Whites, pasteurized and room temperature
  • 6 ounces Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Vanilla Bean, seeded
  • 1/2 tsp White Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch
  • Pinch of Salt

Heat the oven to 250F degrees. Trace 6 circles on to parchment paper, each having a diameter of 4-5 inches (I used a large coffee mug). Turn over parchment paper and line in a baking sheet.

Place the egg whites and pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the whisk attachment on high, whisk until stiff peaks form, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar over 2 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to high and whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy and stiff peaks form, 6 to 7 minutes. Decrease the speed to low and add the vanilla, vanilla bean, vinegar, and cornstarch. Mix until incorporated, less than one minute.

Meringue: Stiff Peak Stage (Check out those Vannila Seeds)

While the meringue is mixing, prepare your piping bag (or ziploc bag). I used pastry tip #2A (next time I will use #8ST). Add the meringue to the piping bag and gently pipe out 6 circular disks onto the traced circles on the parchment paper, building up the walls of the pavlova as you pipe. With a spoon, create a well in the middle of each pavlova to hold your fruit compote.

Place the meringues into the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven for 3 hours, or until the meringues are crisp and dry on the outside. Open the oven door and cool completely before removing from the oven, approximately 30 minutes.

Finished Meringues

Serve with the mixed berry compote and dark chocolate sauce. Recipes below.

Mixed Berry Compote

  • 3 cups Mixed Berries, frozen since this was made in the winter time
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

Combine berries, sugars and lemon and simmer in a saucepan until the mixture is thick and syrupy. Approximately 20 minutes stirring often. Set aside and let cool for 1 hour.

Dark  Chocolate Sauce

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp Espresso Powder
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • Powdered Sugar, for garnish (optional)

Bring the cream just to a simmer in a saucepan. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Slowly pour in the hot cream, whisking constantly, than return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickened, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Put the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Pour the hot cream mixture through a strainer over the chocolate. Add the vanilla extract, espresso powder, and salt into the chocolate bowl. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Let stand for one hour until thick.

Add the fruit compote to the wells of the pavlovas. Drizzle with the dark chocolate sauce and sprinkle with powder sugar (optional).

*If you don’t own a kitchen scale, I would suggest experimenting with one. I love our OXO  scale. Not only does baking seem less of a chore without a sink full of dirty measuring devices, but the measurements are more accurate (therefore your baked good will turn out better in theory) and it takes much less time to make a recipe.