Pavlovas are great desserts: their crunchy and gooey meringue base topped with luscious vanilla cream and lots of berries are bound to please everyone.
I have used xylitol instead of sugar to make the meringue. When I tried it for the first time, my expectations weren’t exactly very high. Despite my skepticism, the substitution worked really well.
2 egg whites
120 g (½ cup) xylitol
300 ml (1 ¼ cup) whipping cream*
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tbsp xylitol
any berries you like (for example, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants)
300 g (1 ½ cup) strawberries
Sweet Freedom/agave nectar/xylitol to taste
1. To make the meringue, pre-heat the oven to 140C/275F/gas mark 1. Line an oven tray with baking parchment. Brush it lightly with a little oil. Even if you’re using a non-stick variety of baking parchment you should brush it with oil – the meringue sticks to the paper very easily.
2. Put the egg whites and the xylitol into a glass or metal mixing bowl (a plastic one may have some greasy residue in it and this may prevent the egg whites from becoming fluffy). Whisk with an electric whisk until the mixture is so stiff you can turn the bowl upside down and the mixture won’t drop.
3. Spoon the meringue onto the oven tray with a metal spoon and spread it into a 20 cm (8 inches) circle. Alternatively, you can make individual meringue nests if you like.
4. Place the oven tray in the oven. Do not open the oven door while the meringue is baking. After an hour, switch off the oven and let the meringue stay in the oven until it has cooled.
5. Take the meringue out of the oven and let it rest at room temperature for at least a few hours. The longer you leave it, the crunchier it will become. When you’re ready, place the meringue on a serving plate and prepare the toppings.
6. To make the vanilla cream, put all the vanilla cream ingredients into a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Spread the vanilla cream on top of the meringue.
7. Place the berries on top of the dessert.
8. Place the dessert in a refrigerator while you make the strawberry sauce.
9. Put 300 g (1 ½ cup) of strawberries into a blender and blitz until they become a smooth sauce. Taste and add some sweetener if need be.
10. Serve the pavlova with a small jug of strawberry sauce on the side so that people can help themselves to the sauce.
If you don’t tolerate lactose, use lactose-free whipping cream instead of ordinary whipping cream.
Try something different
This pavlova is not a very big one. To serve more people, make a layered pavlova: make a double portion of the meringue base and make two circles instead of just one. Also make a double portion of the vanilla cream and strawberry sauce.
To assemble the dessert, first put a meringue disk on a serving plate and spread half of the vanilla cream on top. Spoon some strawberry sauce onto the cream and partially incorporate it into the cream by making swirling movements with a spoon. Place the second meringue on top and spoon the rest of the vanilla over the dessert. Place the berries on top and serve the rest of the strawberry sauce on the side.
Copyright © Tarja Moles. Photograph © Tarja Moles.
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Tarja Moles is the author of No Naughties: Sweet Treats without Sugar, Wheat, Gluten and Yeast. Visit www.nonaughties.com for free recipes and information on special diets and living with multiple dietary restrictions.
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