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This beautifully simple cake is named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, and you can see why. A crisp crust, but soft inside, topped with velvety whipped cream and fresh fruit and berries. It’s believed that the cake was introduced during or after one of Pavlova’s tours to New Zealand and Australia, and the dessert is a national treat in both countries. I’ve had many a delicious slice, both in Auckland as a child and in Perth as a student, and there really is nothing better on a hot summer’s day (which most of them are down under).
Another great thing about the pavlova is that when it’s sugar-free you can pretty much call it a protein cake – the base is, after all, air and egg whites.
4 egg whites
120 grams or 4.2 oz. of Tagatesse
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2-3 dl or 0.8-1.25 cups of whipping cream
2 tablespoons of Tagatesse
2 kiwi fruits
100 grams or 3.5 oz. of blueberries
100 grams or 3.5 oz. of strawberries
In the oven: 90-100° Celsius/195-210° Fahrenheit/Gas ¼ (I recommend using hot air if you have that function on your oven)
≈ Preheat your oven to 100° Celsius/210° Fahrenheit/Gas ¼ now ≈
Cover a baking tray with baking paper and place a dinner plate upside down on it. Use a pen or pencil to trace the dinner plate, so that you’re left with a nice, big circle on your baking paper.
Place the egg whites into your mixing bowl. You can use either a handheld mixer or a kitchen machine with a whisk attachment for this recipe. Turn the machine on to high speed and leave it running until the egg whites form fairly solid peaks.
Now, add the Tagatesse one tablespoon at a time. Make sure each spoon is completely combined with the egg whites before adding the next. You want the meringue to be glossy and firm.
Add the vanilla essence last and leave the kitchen machine or handheld mixer to run for another 1-2 minutes.
Using a baking spatula, place the meringue inside the circle you made on the baking paper. The important thing here is to make a well in the meringue, so that you’re left with space for the whipped cream and topping.
Place the meringue in the oven and bake. If you want a crispy pavlova crust, it’s the same deal as with the meringues: It will take about 5-6 hours. In a sugary pavlova you add both corn flour and white wine vinegar in order to avoid it becoming hard. After all, that’s what makes pavlova pavlova – a crispy crust and soft inside. When we use Tagatesse, however, making the meringue even slightly hard is a challenge, so there’s no point in adding softening agents.
A fairly soft pavlova (depending on how thick you make it, of course) will need 2 hours in the oven, a chewy, but in no way crunchy, pavlova will need 3-4 hours in the oven, and a pavlova with a crispy shell will take 5-6 hours in the oven. Regardless of the consistency, though, it tastes absolutely amazing. A softer pavlova might be a good idea for the kids; you can serve it up as marshmallow cake. However, if you’re serving this for a dinner party I’d put the base in the oven straight after breakfast, so that you’re sure you have enough time to get it sufficiently crisp.
Once the pavlova has reached the desired consistency, turn off your oven and leave it to cool inside. You don’t want to place it on the kitchen bench, especially if you live somewhere humid – then that crispiness you’ve worked (or waited, rather) so hard to achieve will disappear.
Pour the whipping cream into a bowl and add two tablespoons of Tagatesse. Use a handheld mixer to make a firm whipped cream.
Peel the kiwi fruit and cut it into cubes. Cut the strawberries in halves.
When the pavlova is completely cooled down, peel off the baking paper and place it on its serving tray or plate. If you’ve made a soft, marshmallow pavlova, I suggest you get a plate out and sort of peel the baking paper as you lower the pavlova onto the plate. It’ll break quite easily if not.
Place the whipped cream into the well and add the berries and kiwi fruit last. If you want to be extra fancy you can sprinkle with some sugar-free chocolate or Sukrin Melis 🙂