Unlike Christmas and Thanksgiving, I don’t have a lot of food traditions attached to Easter. It might be because it’s the one holiday I never host, or it could also be because I just don’t love spring foods the same way love hearty cold weather foods. But there is one recipe I always turn to each Easter season with great anticipation: pavlova.
Baked meringue topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit has it all, as far as I’m concerned. The soft marshmallow-like interior pairs perfectly with the crisp outer ‘shell’ and when covered with whipped cream, lemon or other fruit curds, and fresh fruit the result is sublime. A perfect dessert for both Easter and Passover, where unleavened desserts are essential, I gravitate towards pavlova for a few reasons. For starters, they’re made with eggs, which I always think of as a spring ingredient. They’re light and airy, which is excitingly welcome after many months of heavy cakes and pies. They’re also colourful and bring a pop of pretty to the plate after so many months of brown toned treats. Lastly, a pavlova can be baked in advance (a day or two in advance and topped just before serving) which is always and forever the hallmark of a perfect holiday dessert.
While some may find making pavlova intimidating, there are a few tricks you can employ to guarantee success with your sweet. For example:
- Wash and dry your bowl and whisk thoroughly to ensure they are free of oil and soapy residue. Use a mixing bowl that is not plastic for best results.
- Make sure there isn’t even a drop of yolk in the egg whites.
- Test the ‘doneness’ of your egg whites by rubbing a small amount of meringue between your fingers. If it’s gritty, keep whisking.
- Try not to open the oven while the meringue is baking.
If I know my pavlova is going to be part of a dessert buffet, I prefer to bake miniatures ones so everyone can sample all the desserts. Simply dollop 8 to 10 rounds of meringue on a baking sheet and bake for approximately an hour at the temperature suggested in the recipe.
For those who can’t imagine not having chocolate as part of their Easter feast, we happen to have a chocolate pavlova recipe on the site that’s fantastic. Swap the pomegranate arils for fresh strawberries and chopped pistachios, or do like I plan on doing and fill the centre with whipped cream, shaved chocolate and mini eggs.
P.S. This is an all-around excellent dessert for gluten/grain/wheat-free eaters, too!