raspberry and pistachio pavlova

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For our first Christmas in northern California in 1995, my parents took my sister and me to see the Nutcracker at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House.  I remember how excited we were – we listened to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite for weeks leading up to it, got dressed up in our nicest dresses, and went to a special dinner at Jardiniere beforehand.  As soon as I walked into the Opera House, I was blown away – I felt as though I had been transported to another time – the opulence and history of the building were extraordinary and magical.  The production of the Nutcracker was equally captivating – I actually got goosebumps, feeling the music almost reverberating through me and marveling in awe at the set and costume design.  I must have had a ridiculous grin on my face for the entire show.

A few weeks ago, I dropped not so subtle hints to Matt of how much I would love to see this production again, 17 years later.  We are going to see it this Saturday, and I am so excited!  Depending on his tolerance, I think it would be lovely to start an annual holiday tradition surrounding this very special story.  In honor of the ballet, I thought it only fitting to make a Pavlova, named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.  {I also just saw Anna Karenina, and this dessert could equally be dedicated to/inspired by that visually stunning film.}

The meringue is ethereal – the outside is crisp, which when bitten into, gives way to a soft interior that literally melts in your mouth.  It is also made with a small amount of brown sugar, which gives it a lovely, almost toasted marshmallow flavor.  The fresh raspberries and pistachios are sprinkled on a bed of whipped cream made slightly more special with the addition of creme fraiche.  An aesthically beautiful and equally delicious dessert that is surprisingly easy to make.

Recipe continued after the jump…

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Recipe

Adapted from Gourmet

Makes 2 medium-sized Pavlovas

  • 1/2 c. superfine granulated {caster} sugar
  • 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 c. egg whites {from 2 to 3 large eggs} at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • 1 c. raspberries
  • 1/4 c. chopped, shelled pistachios
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 c. creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1/3 c. confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 275°F with rack in middle.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Trace the outline of the rim of 5 inch bowl on the parchment paper using a pencil.  Repeat, drawing another circle about 3 inches away from the first.  Flip parchment over.

Pulse superfine sugar, brown sugar and cornstarch in a food processor until well combined.  Stir together vanilla and vinegar in a small bowl.  Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks.  Increase speed to medium-high and add sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time.  After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more.  Add vinegar mixture, then beat at high speed until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.  Spoon meringue onto parchment paper on told of traced circles, and use a spoon to decoratively swirl the tops of the meringues.

Bake until meringues have a crisp crust and feel dry to the touch, about 50 minutes to 1 hour {insides will still be marshmallow-like}.  Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon.  Cool meringues in oven for 1 hour.  Note: meringues may sink slightly and crack while cooling.  Using an offset spatula, carefully remove meringues from parchment paper.

Beat heavy cream with creme fraiche or sour cream using an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks, and then add the confectioners’ sugar and mix to combine {be careful not to overmix – I did this the first time around and it created an unappealing, butter-like consistency}.  Put 1 meringue on a serving plate and spread half of the whipped cream over it.  Scatter half the raspberries over cream.  Sprinkle half the pistachios over raspberries and cream.   Repeat assembly process with second meringue.  Serve immediately.

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Thank you very much for reading!

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14 Responses to raspberry and pistachio pavlova

  1. What a gorgeous dessert – I adore pavlova… There’s something classy about it!

  2. Claire D says:

    I love Pavlova! Your photo looks amazing, as does your recipe. Actually making me hungry. Would make it tonight but am doing Floating Island. But am going to have to reconsider what I serve for dessert for Christmas Eve!

  3. Stunning. I have yet to try to make one because of the long cooking time but you have given me incentive to give it a go with your easy recipe.

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you Bam – very kind of you. I came across several recipes that required letting the meringues cool in the oven overnight, but luckily this one required a lot less time. This will be my go-to recipe any time I have extra egg whites!

  4. ladyredspecs says:

    You know the Aussies and the Kiwis are in dispute as to who invented Pavlova, but it was invented in the Southern Hemisphere to commemorate a visit by Anna P in the 1920s. Aussies usually top a Pav with banana and fresh passion fruit pulp. Yours is gorgeous!

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      I didn’t know that a dispute existed! Banana and fresh passion fruit pulp sound delicious! Will have to try that combination the next time I can get my hands on some fresh passion fruit! Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  5. the color of the raspberries makes this looks so lovely…amazing job on your photography…an absoutley lovely blog…cant wait to read more posts…sarah

  6. Candy says:

    looks fantastic 🙂

  7. petit4chocolatier says:

    This looks absolutely delicious!!

  8. Hal says:

    How would I adjust this to make it a giant pavlova? Like a 9” pavlova? How would cooking time differ? Would it?

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Hi Hal! Thanks so much for stopping by! To make a larger pavlova, I think that the only thing that would change would be the cooking time. I would add at least another 30 minutes to the cooking time, because you are almost doubling the mass of the meringue. Hope that helps! Good luck!

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