Throw Together An Impressive Pavlova Dessert In Minutes
CAPSULE REPORT: A quick-assembly dessert that’s impressive and low-calorie? And inexpensive to-boot? Count us in! The Pavlova consists of a meringue base topped with whipped cream and fresh fruits. One of the most popular desserts in Australia, where it’s commonly known as a Pav, it’s easy to see why. While they are not kosher, if you celebrate the spirit of Passover without adhering to the letter, Pavs, which are made of egg white, sugar, vanilla, and vinegar, fit right in.
Dinner parties are one of life’s great joys; but with all that work, who wouldn’t like to find an easy, “grand finale” dessert that isn’t store-bought?
Enter Pav-Lites. Touted as “the world’s lightest pavlovas,” these single-serve, airy meringue pedestals with a soft, angel-cake-like interior make the perfect base for quick-yet-impressive desserts. Add just a bit of whipped cream and your favorite berries or drizzle with chocolate sauce and top with a fruit compote, and your guests will be struck by your pastry-chef skills.
Pavlovas are usually dressed with fresh whipped cream and fruits or nuts. The options seem endless, lending themselves to every holiday and seasonal theme. Keep a box in the pantry (Pavs have a six-week shelf life) and you’re ready to pick seasonal fruits and match toppings and plate garnishes to any occasion:
Fall: Assorted nuts (raw or candied), dried fruits plate garnish
Summer: Coconut; lemon mint, lemon verbena or spearmint garnish
For a special treat, let guests “dress their own”: give each guest a Pav, choice of ice cream, sorbet or yogurt; and provide small serving dishes of fruits, dessert sauces and accents like nuts and coconut. Everyone will have a great time.
Strawberry Pavlova for Valentine’s Day
Tropical Fruit Pavlova For Summer
The website has many recipes, including Greek yogurt and honey, lowfat yogurt and mango, and kids’ birthday variations.
While Pavs can be glamorized to the caloric hilt, they can be made into diet desserts as well. Meringues are just sweetened egg whites, after all; the basic Pav is fat-free and has just 59 calories. That’s a lot of sweetness and crunch that can be topped with low-cal fruit, sugar-free ice cream, yogurt, diet toppings, sprigs of mint and everything else in the diet arsenal. Scatter some chopped raw almonds on the plate, add a sprig of mint, lemon verbena or lavender, a dab of sugar-free chocolate sauce from The King’s Cupboard, butterscotch sauce from Steel’s, or La Nouba Fruit Spread. The Pavs themselves are pretty sweet, so if you want real whipped cream, you can make whipped cream without sugar.
The dessert is named after the legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926 and 1929. Both countries claim to have invented this dessert and claim it as their national dessert. New Zealand may have the edge: published recipes existed there without the name Pavlova. According to chef Herbert Sachse of the Hotel Esplanade in Perth, Australia, the “Pavlova” was born at the Hotel 1935. According to Hotel legend, it was named at a meeting at which Sachse presented the cake: either the licensee, the manager, or Sachse remarked, “It is as light as Pavlova,” who had been a guest of the hotel during her 1929 tour. Years later, Sachse stated in an interview that he sought to improve the Meringue Cake recipe that he found in the Women’s Mirror Magazine, which was contributed by a New Zealand resident.*