Pavlova - a romantic stack of crisp meringues layered with silky cream, sprinkled with berries and fruits. The ultimate messy-chic dessert. Australians traditionally enjoy pavlova at Christmas. It's light and fluffy and oh-so-beautiful.
For those of us not celebrating Christmas in summer weather, we can make pavlova the go-to BBQ dessert. Because you MUST make it a day ahead of time, it allows the time to do everything else on the day of your big event. You can make one giant one or multiple small ones - it's entirely up to you!
To top it off, pavlova can be made to accomodate egg & dairy allergies - a vegan option, if you will. And no one will ever know! This isn't "good for a vegan dessert." It's GOOD. Hard stop. Using aquafaba and coconut cream, you'll offer a glorious treat that everyone can indulge in.
Aquafaba is a vegan egg replacement using the water from cooking beans or canned beans. It is a direct egg replacement - you don't need any extra ingredients or alterations. And it can be used pretty much in any recipe, not just meringues.
I even recommend using aquafaba if you aren't trying to accomodate the egg-averse. Aquafaba can't be overbeat (unlike eggs that can fall apart if you whisk too much), so it's a great way to learn meringues without making costly mistakes.
Vegan Pavlova (Eggless Meringues)
1/2 cup aquafaba
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
125 g (2 cups) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar)
Heat oven to 200f. Make sure your mixing bowl, whisk, and all utensils are super clean and free from any residual oils. Don't use plastic bowls.
Whisk aquafaba on high until foamy and doubled in size, about 5 minutes. Add cream of tartar and whisk for another minute, until soft and fluffy. Gently and slowly add the sugar one spoonful at a time, making sure it's fully incorporated before adding the next spoonful. Whisk until glossy and stiff peaks begin to form.
Shape meringues with a spoon or with pastry piping.
Bake on low heat for at least 2 hours (for small meringues; 3 hours for bigger pavlova). Then turn off oven and leave meringues untouched for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. You'll know they are "done" when they peel off the parchment paper without sticking.
For large pavlova, I recommend baking on 300F for 1.5-2 hours, then leaving in the oven for at least 1 hour to cool, or overnight. With the thicker meringue, you want to ensure there's enough heat to dry it out all the way through. At 300F, a large pavlova should could out crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
1 (15-oz) can full-fat coconut milk
2 tbsp confectioners/icing/powdered sugar
1.5 teaspoons (or more) vanilla extract
Place coconut milk in refrigerate for a few hours (ideally, when you start the meringue process). Open the can from the bottom, where the water will have settled. The cream will be solidified on top. Pour off the water and scoop the remaining cream into a bowl. Add sugar and vanilla. Whisk until preferred consistency is reached. Add more vanilla as desired.
I used this recipe for inspiration: PicklesnHoney.com
1 pound whole strawberries
1/2 cup orange syrup (from Candied Orange Peels or Orange Almond Cake) or honey a few cracks of fresh black pepper 1/2 teaspoon of orange blossom water (optional)
Chop strawberries, mashing some with a fork. Pour orange syrup or honey over strawberries, adding 3 twists of fresh black pepper and orange blossom water, if using. Stir together and let sit for a few hours or overnight.
I used this recipe for inspiration: AltonBrown.com