I have never made a Pavlova and I found this traditional recipe from the The Culinary Institute of America featured on Epicurious. It is filled with a luscious filling of mixed French Pastry Cream and Whip Cream. I used berries because I just love them, but the original recipe suggested mixed berries, kiwi and mangoes.
It is quite lovely in presentation. I would definitely serve this at an elegant dinner party. What I love most is that you can actually make all the components in advance, and just put together last minute.
3 egg whites
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups pastry cream
1/2 cup heavy cream (Whipped)
Pastry Cream Recipe (Recipe Follows)
2 1/4 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
In medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch.
Transfer remaining 1 3/4 cups milk to heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add pod. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup sugar over, letting sugar sink undisturbed to bottom. Set pan over moderate heat and bring to simmer without stirring.
Whisk hot milk mixture, then gradually whisk into egg yolk mixture. Return to saucepan over moderate heat and cook, whisking constantly, until pastry cream simmers and thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, discard vanilla pod, and whisk cream until smooth. Transfer to bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto surface. Chill until cold, about 4 hours. (Pastry cream can be made ahead and refrigerated, wrapped well with plastic wrap on surface, up to 3 days.)
3 to 4 cups assorted seasonal fruit 2 cups raspberry sauce
Preheat oven to 150°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 3-inch-diameter bowl or ring mold as guide, trace 5 circles on each sheet. Turn paper over so markings are on bottom. In large metal bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy. Gradually whisk in sugar, then cornstarch. Attach candy thermometer to bowl and set over saucepan of simmering water. Continue whisking until thermometer registers 130°F. Remove bowl from heat and, using electric mixer, beat mixture at moderately high speed until mixture cools and holds stiff peaks, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to pastry bag fitted with large star tip.
Starting at center and working in spiral outward, pipe meringue onto 1 traced circle. Pipe second layer in ring around edge to form outer wall. Fill remaining circles in same manner.
Bake meringues until dry on outside but still soft inside, about 3 hours. Transfer pan to rack and cool 5 minutes. Peel meringues from parchment and cool completely on rack. (Meringues can be made ahead and stored in airtight container in dry, cool place up to 2 weeks or frozen in airtight container up to 3 months.)
Using electric mixer, beat cream until stiff peaks form.
In large bowl, whisk pastry cream until smooth. Whisk in 1/3 of whipped cream to lighten, then fold in remaining whipped cream.
3 1/3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
In medium saucepan over moderate heat, stir together raspberries, powdered sugar, and lemon juice. Heat, stirring often, until raspberries begin to release juice. Raise heat to moderately high and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Strain through fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids to extract all liquid. (Sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, up to 1 week.)
Assemble and serve:
Transfer each meringue to serving plate and fill with 3 tablespoons pastry cream mixture. Mound fruit on top of cream. Spoon raspberry sauce alongside on plate, and serve immediately.