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{Note from Jessica: Today’s post is shared by my fellow health and wellness blogger, Carol Green, author of the Taste of Healing website. Carol is a nutritional therapy practitioner and helps to assist, empower, and motivate her clients. Her passion is in empowering others to embrace creating healing foods as an important part of a holistic lifestyle. Stop by her site, Taste of Healing, to get more info and tasty recipes.}

Light, ethereal Pavlova is one of my favorite desserts. Originating in New Zealand, this dream of a dessert was invented for the ballerina, Anna Pavlova on her visit in the 1920’s. This fact is hotly contested by the Australians, and there is no doubt Pavlova is a beloved dessert in the Antipodean countries!

A well-loved dessert in South Africa too, this showstopper of a dessert often graced our table at holidays and birthdays growing up. Here I showcase my mother’s recipe, which is the perfect balance of crispy on the outside and chewy within.

Of course, one is left with egg yolks from this recipe, perfect for making Crème Pâtissière to accompany the Pavlova. To compliment the Saffron Pavlova, this version of Crème Pâtissière is infused with chai spices and orange oil.

Key Steps to Success

This seemingly simple dessert is prey to many pitfalls, resulting in collapsed, cracked or grainy meringue and lumpy pastry cream. In this post, we will visit the key steps needed for show-stopping Pavlova success!

Fresh is Best

First off, the selection of eggs; I am so spoiled in my local community to have access to the freshest, truly pasture raised eggs. Organic eggs are a great choice too. Be sure that that are as fresh as possible if you are unsure of how to check the freshness of the eggs or which to choose, read here.

Although eggs are edible for quite some time when they are freshly laid, they are slightly acidic and as they age, they become more alkaline, especially the white of the egg. The egg white then becomes runny as the proteins begin to repel each other instead of holding together. One would still be able to whip up the eggs, however, they would not be as stable as when using fresh eggs.

Caution!

When separating the eggs, be sure that absolutely no egg yolk makes it into the egg white, as this will ruin your chances of whipping up a meringue cloud. It is best to crack each egg individually into a small dish; if one egg breaks you haven’t ruined the whole batch!

Cold eggs are easier to separate, however, room temperature egg whites whip up easier and to greater volume. Separate the eggs while cold and allow the egg whites to rest at room temperature for a half hour or so before whipping.

Sugar

While it is tempting to try and reduce the sugar, in this case, the sugar is needed to keep the meringue aloft and bake into a crispy delight. The texture of sugar is important – the finer the grain, the glossier and smoother the meringue. Most recipes call for castor sugar; I make my own by grinding organic unbleached sugar in the food processor. For this recipe, I ground my saffron spice with the sugar to ensure even distribution.

The Equipment

Clean, clean, clean! Be sure that all pieces have been well washed and dried with no greasy residue. There is no faster why to deflate a meringue than a bowl or whisk with a trace of a previous dish.

For this reason, I always use a disposable or dedicated piping bag, one that has been previously used for a cream-based recipe may appear clean but can spell disaster! Disposable piping bags tend to be quite small; my simple trick is to use a gallon-sized zip lock bag, cut a tiny slit across a bottom corner and pop the pastry nozzle through. Secure it by wrapping tape around the nozzle, up to the top edge.

Whip Up the Science

To really appreciate the process here, let’s take a peek at the science of meringue. Egg white consists of protein (amino acids) and water, like long beads on a string. Some of these ‘beads’ are hydrophilic, meaning attracted to water, and some are hydrophobic, meaning repelled by water.

In egg white, these hydrophobic ‘beads’ are folded up hidden away from the water. Whipping the egg begins the process of forcing air into the molecules, allowing the proteins to unfold, trapping air bubbles, and forming a larger network.

Introducing an acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice, to egg whites that are beaten just to a light foamy consistency, increases the bonding surface and allows for a larger yield.

Saffron Pavlova with Orange Chia Spiced Crème Patisserie and Exotic Fruits :: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free // deliciousobsessions.com

Beat until foamy, then add the vinegar

Once the egg whites gain volume, but are not yet stiff, introduce the sugar a little at a time, this allows the sugar to interact with the water, stiffening up and stabilizing the molecules. Beat until the meringue holds soft peaks, but is not stiff and dry.

Saffron Pavlova with Orange Chia Spiced Crème Patisserie and Exotic Fruits :: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free // deliciousobsessions.com

Once the meringue holds soft peaks it is ready.

When the meringue is baked, heat causes the air bubbles to expand, the water to evaporate, and the proteins to stiffen up. Keep this in mind when piping or spooning out your meringue, allow for a little expansion.

The Weather

And lastly, keep an eye on the weather! Humid days can cause the sugar in the meringue to absorb more moisture, resulting in beading on the meringue. Stabilizers such as cornstarch, cream of tartar, or tapioca starch are generally used to help hold the structure together.

I have sidestepped this problem in my yacht chef days in the steamy Bahamas by adding a little more stabilizer to the recipe.

Coupons and Freebies for Saffron Pavlova Ingredients

I am always asked about my favorite ingredients and what I use in my own kitchen. I have linked to the products from my affiliate partners that I personally use and recommend. All funds earned go to help support the maintenance of this site and free content. You can view it like leaving a tip. Thank you! 🙂 And now, here are the special coupon offers that select affiliate partners are currently offering:

  • Thrive Market: If you sign up through this link, you will get 15% OFF your first order.
  • Vitacost: If you sign up through this link, you’ll get a coupon for $10 off your first purchase.

Amazon, of course, has everything you need for this recipe. Their prices are often very good, though I love to shop around and sometimes find that Vitacost and Thrive Market have better deals. If you like saving money, it's good to shop around! 🙂

 Saffron Pavlova with Orange Chia Spiced Crème Patisserie and Exotic Fruits :: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free // deliciousobsessions.com

Begin piping a spiral from the center.

Saffron Pavlova with Orange Chia Spiced Crème Patisserie and Exotic Fruits :: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free // deliciousobsessions.com

Build up the sides of the Pavlova to form bowls.

 


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