All Ovah Pavlova - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

All Ovah Pavlova

June 29, 2010 at 7:57 am | Posted in Cakes, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Fruit, Gluten Free, Pies/Tarts, Puddings, Rainbow | 65 Comments
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Once  upon a time there was a Russian ballerina named Anna.

Tropical Pavlova

She was so dainty, delicate and light on her toes, that when she danced on a tour through Australia and New Zealand, they came up with a dessert to honor her – a dessert that was light, feminine and delicate, but sweet and hearty at the same time.

Have you ever had a meringue cookie?  Well, Pavlovas are a fancy, gooey and larger version of the meringue cookie, with a crispy shell and a soft cloud like, slightly chewy interior. They can be filled with anything, but berries and cream seem to be the most popular and authentic way it’s served down under.  I’m willing to bet that in order to remain light and delicate on her toes, Anna wasn’t eating too many pavlovas.  If that were actually the case, boy was she missing out!

If someone named a dessert after me..I’d be scarfing it down like a champ, as long as they rolled me to each destination.  Here’s a good question –  If given the choice, which would you prefer, a dish, whether it be sweet or savory, created for and named after you, or a song written for and about you?


The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

First I wanted to make an authentic pavlova, but, of course, with a twist because it ain’t me if it ain’t got a twist.  Since I’d never made a pavlova before, but know my way around all kinds of meringue preparations, I felt pretty confident I’d be able to pull it off.  Thanks to my pal, Audax, who provided the Daring Bakers with an authentic recipe that everyone was raving about, I was able to do just that.   However, Francois Payard is one of my favorite pastry chefs, so I had to make the recipe from his book that was provided to us. Every component, word for word would be emulated – especially since his lovely creations cost an arm, a leg and maybe an eyeball. His showroom, which is a mouth-watering and gorgeous feast for the eyes, is one of the best patisseries in NYC.

                   Perfect Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse…..before I murdered it.

Chocolate Cream Cheese MousseMuch better the second time around.

Since I didn’t dig into this challenge until the last minute, things didn’t go as planned.  I decided to bake the chocolate meringue in a tart pan.  Great idea, right?  Well, sort of.  You see, one characteristic of a perfect pavlova is that the crispy outer shell cracks and crumbles a bit after being baked and cooled.  Yes, this is a good thing palate wise, but not a good thing aesthetically, which counts when you’re a food blogger. I got the perfect tart pan ridges, but as it should have, it separated and crumbled a bit, so it really didn’t look like the meringue tart shell I was hoping for.

Tropical Pavlova

Where I really screwed up was on the chocolate mascarpone mousse.  Initially, I didn’t screw up, it turned out perfect – silky, creamy chocolate heaven.  BUT- I made it a day ahead and refrigerated it, so when it came time to assemble my dessert, the mousse was firm (due to the mascarpone cheese solidifying..which is normal).  I didn’t have time to let it come to room temperature so I could stir it gently back into its luscious, silky self – so I decided to take a beater to it, momentarily forgetting about the mascarpone cheese in it..

Mascarpone cheese breaks when over beaten, and it had already been beaten lightly prior to refrigerating it.  The extra beating, which was a lot of beating since I needed it soft for piping, turned my smooth and silky mousse into a grainy mess.  It still tasted great and was surprisingly smooth on the tongue, but it looked like shit.  Well, I had planned to cover it with fruit anyway, so now I just needed to cover all of it with fruit, and loads of fruit!

By this time I’m frustrated, so I made a mess of the fruit.  Instead of the perfectly symmetrical slices of papaya and mango that I envisioned in a beautiful concentric circle, I ended up slicing away haphazardly, slimy fingers squishing the fruit, leaving me with uneven chunks and slices that I layered on the tart sloppily, due to frustration, shoving a piece here, and another piece there. In the meantime, my grainy mousse started to ooze over the side, encapsulating the meringue tart shell like The Blob.

My chocolate pavlova was now drooping and sinking – exactly like the robot kid’s face in AI- Artificial Intelligence when he ate spinach (I think I’m the only person in the world who actually liked that movie).

Even after all of this, and even though I’m not a huge chocolate on chocolate person, it still tasted great, and the mascarpone cream with the creme anglaise base was to die for.  I’m dumping the leftover cream in my ice cream maker as soon as I get this tardy post up!

I had a much better ‘aesthetic’ result with the authentic pavlova recipe, although letting them sit overnight mottled the texture a little. I suppose you could say they sort of shriveled.  I made snowballs, and not just any snowballs, but pearl lustre dusted snowballs filled with white chocolate chantilly cream, passion fruit curd, little spheres of papaya and champagne mango (use a melon baller), which is the best mango ever. and chopped pistachio.  I used a regular sized ice cream scoop to form  perfect, fluffy, glossy meringue balls, pressing the back of a slightly wet spoon into each ball to make a well for fillings.

For the pearly look (which you can’t really see in the photos), I mixed some pearl lustre dust with a little almond extract and brushed it lightly over each ball after they baked and cooled.  Come to think of it, I don’t think the almond extract was needed because some kind of chemical reaction occured between the meringue and extract took place, giving my balls a pinkish hue.  Brushing it on dry probably would have been better. Live and learn.

For the recipe for Francois Payard’s Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse and Mascarpone Cream, click HERE,  To see the lovely creations by other Daring bakers, click on the links to their blogs, HERE.

Since fresh passion fruit is currently unavailable in my area, I used the above frozen passion fruit pulp.  It lent extraordinary flavor to the curd.  As fresh as you can get with frozen.

Pavlova Snowballs
4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cornstarch, sifted
passion fruit curd (recipe follows)
white chocolate chantilly cream (recipe follows)
6 to 9 balls of fresh papaya -use a melon scoop
6 to 9 balls of fresh mango – use a melon scoop
chopped pistachios

1. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy.  Start adding the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until you’ve used it all up.  Keep beating until stiff peaks have formed.

2. Add the vinegar, vanilla and sifted cornstarch and just beat until it is incorporated.  Preheat the oven to 225F.

3. On a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet, using an ice cream scoop, scoop 6 to 9  (depending on size of your scoop) meringue snowballs of the meringue onto the sheet, about 1-inch apart.  Wet a spoon, and with the back of the spoon, press the top of each ball to make wells, cleaning off and wetting the spoon for each one.

4.  Bake for 1 hour, then turn off the oven and let sit in the closed oven for another hour.

6.  When ready to serve, fill each snowball with passion fruit curd and white chocolate chantilly cream, then top each one with 1 papaya ball and one mango ball.  Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

Passion Fruit Curd
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh passion fruit pulp, OR frozen passion fruit pulp
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. In the top of a double boiler, whisk egg yolks, sugar, hot juice, salt, and lemon Juice.

2. Cook over boiling water 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly, or until mixture thickens and you can draw a line through the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Cool 3-4 minutes, stirring several times.

3. Stir in butter, one tablespoon at a time, until melted in. Press plastic wrap on top of curd and let come to room temperature.  Chill for several hours in the fridge for best results.

Chocolate Mascarpne (or cream cheese) Mousse
1 1/2 cups (355 mls) heavy cream
9 ounces (255 grams) good quality chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone cheese (I’ve made this using cream cheese instead of the mascarpone and it’s just as good – use 1 and 1/2 bars of cream cheese (12 oz), softened)
pinch of nutmeg

1. Place 1/2 cup of the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.

2. Put the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low speed for 1 minute until the mascarpone is loose. Do not overbeat, as the mascarpone will break. Mix about a quarter of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble your pavlovas or ready to serve as a dessert on its own.  If you refrigerate it for a long time..the mousse will firm up.  Do not beat it.  Let it come to room temperature then stir it and serve.

White Chocolate Chantilly
3 ounces best-quality white chocolate, very finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream

1.  Heat the cream on in a sauce pan over medium heat until it starts to boil.  Pour over chopped white chocolate in a bowl.  Let sit for 1 minute.

2. Stir the cream and white chocolate until combined and no lumps remain.  Let come to room remperature than cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until cold.

3. Whip the cream until soft peaks form.

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  1. Lovely! I really love that big pavlova tart. So beautiful! Very well done, my friend!



  2. Lisa you are the LOVE of my life pavlova is very special to people Down Under and your take on it is wondrous. Both versions are exquisite but I adore your pav balls that is a delightful adaptation you are such a genius at baking new, clever and creative recipes on a theme. I have been hanging out for your post how for a day now. As always your interpretations are so sublime and so visually arresting. KUDOS to you and bravo bravo bravo on your fabulous results.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. It takes talent and patience to be able to crank out two perfect but different pavlovas – where do you find the time?! They both look amazing – my favourite would have to be your version, Lisa.

  4. LOL, true to Lisa “form” you went above and beyond the challenge and am much too critical of yourself. Both pavlovas look amazing and I’m ecstatic to see a non chocolate one! YAY! I want that recipe. I’ve never made, let along had a pavlova and I can see I’m seriously missing out. Share, Lisa Michele!

    Hey! And where’s my return phone call, Miss?!

  5. I think the fruit tart looks so gorgeous! You’re too hard on yourself!!!!

    Nice work!

  6. Can I be greedy and have both food and song named after me :)) Wow both versions of pavlova are really gorgeous! They both look so pretty! The fruits don’t look squished and uneven at all…and I loved AI too :) Excellent job!

  7. Simply gorgeous. As I travel through Europe and especially France I haven’t seen anything to top what you have done. Beautiful pictures – I must concurr you are way too hard on yourself you are very talented. Well done!

  8. I have some passionfruit curd in my freezer at this very moment. Yum!

    Your pavlova is stunning!

  9. What a beautiful POST! Two pavolovas – and gorgeous photos. I make pavlova A LOT. I have never made a chocolate one. I have to make the Passion Fruit Curd. OH MY! SWOOOOOON…. we could eat one between us at our house.

  10. I’m kind of obsessed with your rainbow of fruits on the chocolate pavlova. I need to make this one…just have to remember where I put the recipe :)

  11. Lisa…I’ve said this before and I’ll gladly say it again…you are one talented baker. I hope you believe that too ;o)

    With all the great seasonal fruits we have lately…this dessert will have to be blessed on my sweets table soon.

    Flavourful wishes,

  12. Those came out just too pretty. Both of them. The rainbow fruit on top never gets old- it will always be pretty (even to hide jacked up mousse!) But I love your authentic pavlovas. So pretty and what a nice idea with lustre dust!

    Great job!!

  13. If you need to cover up some mousse that turned, there is hardly a better way than with lucious multi-colored fruit. The authentic pavlovas are beautiful and I love the fillings!

  14. Stunning Lisa! Love that multicoloured fruit effect – what are you talking about, it looks fantastic. And the baby snowball pavs are so gorgeous too. You always go the extra mile, great job.

  15. I had exactly the same problem with the mousse. You turned it into such a gorgeous colored fruit pavlova… I’m drooling over it! And your individual one is just superb! You did a great, great job! Thanks for your kind comments on mine!

  16. Fabulous, Lisa, absolutely fabulous!! I also had a problem with the mousse seizing up after looking lovely. But, you would never know you had any of the issues you bravely confess to from looking at your perfect desserts. The fruit rainbow on the chocolate pav really gives it the colorful visual lift it needs.
    But, my favorite is your own pavlova. It really is stunning. I was just mulling over the possibility of using luster or sparkle on the meringue, and you read my mind and showed how it looks (which is great). But, that combination of tropical flavors! Love it. And I love how you carried through the pearl theme with the fruit balls, too. I also couldn’t find passion fruit–wish I thought of frozen!
    Oh, and I definitely would prefer a dessert named after me.

  17. So which one of your pavs is not aesthetic to look at? I can’t see it.
    Hey, haven’t you heard of rustic? Especially when there’s fruit?

    Seriously I think you pavs look good, Lisa. Anna Pavlova missed a lot alright. But then she might not have been able to dance again. LOL

    If someone wnated to name something after me, I would prefer a savoury dish unless it was something chocolate! 😉

  18. As usual, I’m exhausted after reading your post! Maybe it’s because I just finished my marathon macaron post (my first macs ever, made from Payard’s recipe!) I look at your photos and don’t see what you think you did wrong?!? Your fruit tart is glorious and I like how the pavlova looks…the tart pan is a great effect. I made the same mistake refrigerating the chocolate mousse I made from Payard’s book. It was delicious but did look unfortunate.

  19. Lisa thank you for the kind comments on my blog I concur with most comments you are too harsh on yourself your creations are superb if not über-excellent you did a marvellous job on this challenge I wish I could get pear lustre here in Sydney Australia to make the perfect pav like yours. You are a genius on these challenges. Audax.

  20. I agree, you’re much too hard on yourself. Either than, or you are a genius with trick photography because I can’t find a flaw anywhere – gorgeous, gorgeous! I want Keith Urban to write a song about me and send me front row tickets to his concert so he can sing it to me!

  21. Absolutely beautiful challenge! I love the way you used fruit- I should have included something healthy, but all that chocolate was too hard to pass up :) And for the record if a dish was to be named after me it would absolutely be sweet for sure :)

  22. Love the colourful big pavlova – bet it tasted great!

  23. Two beautiful pavlovas!!! I love the fruit on your choc pav! Actually as I was reading through the post I had to go back and look at the photo to see what you meant about the fruit. I thought, this girl is crazy that fruit looks fantastic! I do love the pavlova snowballs – something I (in the tropics) would never have thought of but I think I’ll have to use your idea some time! Yes, I did have problems with the mousse it only look ok in the pic because I piped it as soon as I made it. The next day – disaster! Anyway, yours was beautiful on the day you made it and still looked devine with the fruit on it! What brilliant work!

  24. Wow your daring bakers challenges are always completed so well, your pavlovas look so good mm!

  25. I love your fruit “bouquet”. I would prefer a song written about me, what about you?

    • depends on how good the song or dessert is! Probably a’s poetry as opposed to gluttony, although gluttony is not ‘really’ a bad thing lol

  26. Lovely job Lisa! You cannot tell at all that you were frustrated at the end – everything you do is always beautiful!

  27. Yum–these look amazing! Your challenge recipe is beautiful, but I was sold on mention of passion fruit! I use the frozen stuff too, and love the curd. Now I want to make another!

  28. I think the flan looks amazing and i would never have noticed that the fruit wasn’t perfect, until you brought my attention to it. Lovely just as it is.

  29. OK, I thought your chocolate pavlova with the fruit was STUNNING and GORGEOUS! I think everyone’s their own worst critic though! Personally I was TOTALLY annoyed with my own attempt at the challenge, and completely dissatisfied with the way it came out. But oh well.

    On the other hand, yours looks picture perfect to me! The rainbow colors of fruit on top are SO vivid and luscious!

    it’s funny you mention the lustre dust. I’ve had mixed results with lustre dust. I made the mistake of using silver lustre dust once and it just looked like some of the pan had scrapped out onto my cake. Ugly. But gold lustre dust just looks fantastic when I use in chocolate creations. I wish gold leaf wasn’t so expensive, I’d probably use that more often…

    Oh, and I didn’t hate AI. Didn’t love it either, but didn’t hate it. I just think Stanley Kubrick would have done a significantly better job than Steven Spielberg….

  30. I am not fond of pavlova but you are twisting it here with your passionfruit curd!!
    I am a chocolate girl! I prefer the chocolate mascarpone, but not on a pavlova!

    That’s what I love!!

  31. What are you talking about? The layered fruit on the chocolate pavlova looks great! And, the snowballs with passion fruit curd are delightful.

  32. Lisa it was so good to hear from you and thank you for your nice comments! I tasted Pavlova for the first time on a trip to Ireland and brought the recipe home as one of my treasured souvenirs. I’ve made it many times since but never tried a chocolate version and your creative touches of making meringue balls filled with mango curd look absolutely divine! I love how you think out of the box when you do these challenges!

    I scrolled through your blog to see all the wonderful Daring Bakers/Cooks challenges that I’ve missed out on. I’m going to have to try so many of them!

    I can’t believe the Yankees lost two games to Seattle this week but they always seem to find the last place teams their nemesis for some reason. Let’s hope they can hang on!

    xx oo Pat

  33. 2 pavs… amazing…
    the rainbow of fruits is looking so yummy :)

    The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts – Nachiketa
    Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

  34. I hardly noticed that you have the oozing mousse and uneven fruit slices episode. All I can say that it is beautiful and you got it well preplanned. I mean who would actually think about arranging the fruits in such color harmony?

    Love both versions of your pavlova executions. And having the passion fruit curd on the sweet pavlova creates great taste sensation, love it!

  35. LOL! I was smiling the whole time I read your pavlova story. We both had a a little bit of a real challenge with this dessert, but I am sure it was delicious (as was mine) all the same! I liked the mousse when it was refrigerated. It had a texture almost like ice cream. The fruit looks delicious with the pavlova. Yum!

  36. (Did not realize the comment button was at the top, as opposed to the bottom. Please disregard the post on the Daring Cooks Challenge :-)

    Looking at your desserts I almost licked my computer screen! Your fruit covered pavlova looks wonderful and delicious. I also like the photography of the smaller individual pavlovas. My horrible photography skills would not do justice to such fabulous desserts! Great job with this challenge!

  37. The fruit tart pavlova is exquisite! The little ones are equally beautiful too.:)

  38. I think your pavs turned out beautiful!

  39. I think your pavlovas are lovely. I adore all those pretty colours. But I think we are all our own worst critics. I am pretty harsh on my own cooking. Anyways, have a fabulous 4th daaaaaahling.
    *kisses* HH

  40. Lisa,

    Thank you for your kind words.
    Your pavlova looks so beatiful and fresh! Very very nice blog and pictures!



  41. Your pavlovas are beautiful! Love the tip about Goya passion fruit pulp; there’s a great Latin market near me, so I’ll have to buy some!

  42. what an incredible pavlova!! your presentation is magnificent….I don’t see anything wrong with the fruit!

  43. Hi Lisa!
    Your pav is really lovely and I feel for you about the mousse (did the same mistake).
    But it still look wonderful!

  44. Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for Your kind words on my pav post and I must say you done well with this Challenge white individual serving looks sooo cute and pav tart looks elegant .. but both look delicious. bravo

  45. Pavlova looks wonderful.So beautifully created and lovely clicks.Thankyou for dropping by Your visit and comments are very inspiring and much appreciated.

  46. Tres jolie!! Love the rainbow of fruits!

  47. Nicely done, Miss Lisa! Hope you saved some for me!

  48. It’s beautiful! I think the fruit topping (+ everything else) looks great. I love your teeny pavs too. You know when you look at a picture and can almost taste it? Well, they taste fantastic. 😀

    I had the same issue with the chocolate mousse, though I wonder if chilling might have improved mine. I must have done something wrong because mine looked like shi*t to begin with! And like you I mean that literally.

    Dessert over song, I reckon.

    • Oh, well I didn’t * that very well! Apologies. :S

  49. It’s too bad this was a frustrating challenge for you. I can almost hear your grrrrrrrs. But despite you struggles, it looks fantastic. And your description of the white pavlovas sounds even more amazing. I still have to buy some of that white chocolate powder!

  50. Definitely to hard on yourself – although I can relate. I think you did a fab job. I also left the mixture in the fridge overnight..popped it in the microwave. The fruit circles are stunning.

  51. Wow! This is easily the most beautiful rainbow of colors I’ve ever seen. I would have never known there was any frustration behind your pavlova, it looks utterly perfect- And completely delicious! And since you loaded it up with fresh fruit, it’s practically health food, right? 😉

  52. O Lisa… you always manage to make me laugh when reading your posts. You can so vividly describe what went wrong, that I feel I am in the kitchen with you… Having said that; for something that wasn’t exactly how you envisioned it, I think the endresult still looks gorgeous and very very tasty!

  53. Wow, all the versions of pavlova look awesome, the color and the flavors are just amazing…as always Lisa, you done a great job!

  54. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I must say that your presentation and style surpass alot of the other sites I’ve seen. Kudos!

  55. First thing: WOWEE! Both of your incredible edible pavlova desserts are fabulously beautiful! My fork is ready! But *whew* after reading your post I am exhausted. As I usually am following your incredible kitchen antics. And I must say that you are much too modest, my dear! These are both perfect! Perfect! The circles are fruit are beautiful as is the white puffy meringues. Heavenly divine! And for a last minute rush job, well they are so much prettier than mine!

  56. Gurl, ur a genius!!’

    Well am sure u can have a book with all ur super daring bakers creations!!!

    Well what u wrote doesnt match ur pic, i looked hard for all those ”faults” u talk about and found none!!
    Atleast am on a screen, if i was there, eyes shut, i would be lost in this delicious ecstasy!!
    And i still find it perfect beautiful!!

    I dont know if did reply earlier , i know i did come around to ur world but since i have a comp prob, it does hang alot!!

    YEah curves are back and how:-))

    And whatever ,wherever ur , we love our Lisa, jus that way!!!

    Hugs >>…

  57. The chocolate pavlova is just amazing… can’t belive you made two kinds of pavlova… but wait… I do belive because it’s you who I’m talking about:)

  58. Oh my, I haven’t gotten to this one yet, but you’ve certainly inspired me. That chocolate and fruit pavlova looks incredible… love the colors!

  59. Lovely pavlovas. It’s great you made two different types, I still haven’t made a traditional pav…

  60. Lisa, I would be SO HAPPY if any of my DB creations looked even a teeny bit as beautiful as yours! You put so much effort and thought into these pavlovas and they look FABULOUS!Oh how I would love to try that chocolate version! YUM! Beautiful photos too!

    Hmmm, I think I would like a dish named after me:)

  61. Your dishes ALWAYS turn out so beautifully! You could frame the chocolate and fruit pavlova.

  62. I’ve been browsing blogs for a perfect filling for profiteroles – I’m bored of the same old whipped cream – and came across this post. The white chocolate creme chantilly sounds amazing, but what I really want is that pavlova, yum!

  63. […] – Get the recipe […]

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