If you've haven't made a Pavlova, simply put - you must. I've made many varieties over the years and every single one has been devoured with pleasure. Pavlova is a beautiful thing. It's not difficult to make and it's a decadent dessert without a lot of fuss. The sugar is fairly low in comparison to many traditional desserts, and it's and gluten free.
Where did Pavlova come from?
According to the Oxford dictionary, Pavlova is a dessert consisting of a merignue base or shell filled with whipped cream and fruit and named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. It is said Anna Pavlova visited both Australia and New Zealand in the 1920's and there has been a long-running arguement ever since on where Pavlova orginated. So which is it, New Zealand or Australia?
In an article in Stuff (New Zealand's multi-award winning news and information website), Kristy Johnston, declares the Oxford dictionary has settled the war for the Pavlova. The dictionary states the Pavlova was invented in New Zealand. BUT is it?
According to researchers, "Dr. Andrew Paul Wood, a New Zealander, and Australian Annabelle Utrecht the modern pavlova began life as a German torte, eventually travelling to the US where it evolved into its final form" (Good Food, Beck Eleven, Oct 2015).
Whether it originated in Germany, the US, New Zealand or Australia, I'm just glad Pavlova found it's way into my Canadian, and now South African kitchen.
Let's start with the final product...a beautiful crunchy meringue, topped with whip cream, grilled peaches, pecans, and homemade caramel sauce.
Spread your meringue onto the parchment and brush up the sides with a rubber spatula and make a shallow well in the centre. Pop into the oven. You'll bake it for an hour, then turn off the oven and let it sit inside the oven for 2 hours.
While the Pavlova is in the oven you can make your Caramel Sauce. It's easy, delicious, and so worth it. All you need is sugar, water, whip cream, butter, vanilla, and salt if using.
It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to make the caramel sauce and then you can pour it into a bowl and let it sit and cool. Not only will you love drizzling it over your dessert, you'll defiitely have some left over for ice cream the next day. Yum.
Spread your whipped cream over the center of the cooked and cooled Pavlova, top with your grilled peaches, sprinkle with pecans, and then drizzle with your homemade caramel sauce. This dessert was inspire by a picture I found on Pinterest. It didn't include a recipe, but the title made it pretty self-explanatory. You can use any traditional Pavlova recipe to make this extraordinary dessert.
Grilled Peaches, Pecans & Salted Caramel Pavlova
There are two ways to make Pavlova, with cream of tartar, or with corn starch and vinegar. I've made it both have turned out well. I don't have a preference.
Pavlova Ingredients (recipe)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 9-inch circle in the middle. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
1. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 10 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cream of tartar and beat for one additional minute. Spoon the mixture onto the circle, and use a spatula to shape the egg white mixture into a circle with decorative sides, if desired.
2. Bake for 1 hour, or until firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the pavolva to cool completely in the oven.
1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the water and sugar over medium heat. Make sure to use a saucepan that's a little bigger than what you think you will need. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, stop stirring completely. Let the mixture continue boiling until it turns an amber color, this could take anywhere from 4-12 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up a lot, so make sure to do this very carefully. Mix until everything is well combined.
4. Add the butter and stir well until the butter has melted completely.
5. Add in the vanilla and salt, and stir until fully combined.
6. Pour the caramel sauce into a dish and allow to cool completely, then cover tightly and store in the refrigerator.
1. Peel about 6 peaches, and slice in half (discarding pit).
2. Grill whole until peaches begin to slightly caramelize, but not too soft.
3. Cool and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Set-aside.
1. When ready to serve, beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed.
2. When the cream gets foamy, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
3. Continue to beat until soft peaks form.
1. Spread whipped cream evenly across center of cooled Pavlova.
2. Top with grilled peaches.
3. Sprinkle with pecans.
4. Drizzle with caramel sauce (bring extra sauce to the table for those who want more).
*Be careful when adding whip cream to boiling caramel sauce. The mixture will bubble up a lot, so make sure to do this very carefully. Just add a little at first and slowly add the rest. Mix until everything is well combined.
**If you prefer to make Pavlova with cornstarch and vinegar, here's a recipe you can use.
Toblerone Shortbread Cookies literally translated means "to die for". Well not really but they are my all time favourite Christmas cookie. They're not only easy to whip up but they smell and taste amazing. For some reason shortbread is something I usually only indulge in during the Christmas season, and this particular recipe has become a Christmas tradition.
This was our first Christmas in White River, South Africa, away from family and friends. We were definitely missing everyone along with many of the things that are both normal and special during the Christmas season. While our home in Ottawa, Canada was being turned into a winter wonderland, we were taking refuge in a swimming pool.
âNot only were we missing the snow, yes I did say snow, among many other things, try as I might, I could not find Toblerone chocolate. So no Toblerone Shortbread for us.
New Year's eve day we were out picking up a few things at a grocery store we don't normally shop at and I thought I would check just to see if maybe...YES there it was, a Toblerone chocolate bar. It was pricey but I hadn't done any real baking this year and afterall it is tradition.
âToblerone is a perfect pairing with shortbread. The combination of the not too sweet shortbread and the special nougaty smooth milk chocolate is perfection. So go ahead and whip up a batch, even if Christmas is over. You won't be sorry.
Whether you use a handheld electric mixer or a kitchen aid, they'll whip up quick and easy. Once you have your batter just mix in your chopped up Toblerone and drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet. Bake until just starting to lightly brown. Once out of the oven try to wait long enough before eating so that you don't burn your tongue (smile).
Can you see those beautiful chunks of Toblerone? What the cookie lacks in aesthetics it definitely makes up in taste.
Toblerone Shortbread Cookies
Recipe from Impeccable Taste, a recipe blog.
2 cups butter, softened
1 cup fine granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
300g Toblerone style chocolate, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand held electric mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cornstarch. Slowly add to the butter mixture, beat until just combined. Stir or fold in the chocolate chunks.
Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto an ungreased baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cookies are just beginning to brown.
Cool cookies on baking sheet for a couple of minutes. Dust the tops of the cookies with icing sugar (or not) and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Hint: Recipe blogger suggests using a grocery store brand of Swiss Milk Chocolate with Honey Almond Nougat in place of the expensive Toblerone bars. She says no one ever knows the difference. Maybe she's right, I personally just stick to Toblerone.
All things cooking, from simple and clean to gourmet and exotic (and everything in between) have been my passion for over 30 years. Since discovering Pinterest, I pretty much exclusively cook from the recipes I PIN. My saying is, "if you can PIN it, you can cook it". I love to PIN recipes and I love to cook. I thought, why not blog the recipes I make from my Pinterest food boards. I'm the self-declared, Pincook.