Mini Pavlovas with Pineapple and Pastry Cream

When I had my first pavlova (pav), I immediately fell in love with its contrasting texture of a crispy exterior and  marsmallowy interior. Top with dollops of whipped cream and fresh fruits (most commonly passion fruit /berries),  you’ve got to agree that pav makes an irrestible dessert to pass up, right?

Although the ingredients required to make a pav is an easy one, the technique of making one can be tricky!

My first baking experience with pav was rather a long and stressful one even though I made it from a ready-made powder mix (a gift from my workmates to celebrate my Australian permanent residency status some years ago). I followed the packet instructions to a tee and was totally crushed when the end result was a heavily cracked mess (Back then, I didn’t realise that it’s okay to have cracked surface). However, I tried to “salvage” it by crowding the top with fruits: sliced kiwi fruits, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. At the time I thought it’s best to let the fruits be the star of the dessert instead of the cracked and ugly pav.

It’s been years since my last pav baking experience. When I was looking for a recipe to enter a recipe competition using a fresh pineapple as the main ingredient, I’ve decided to bake it once again.

Call me crazy, but this time was from scratch! As if the pav itself isn’t sweet enough, call me crazy (again!), I’ve decided to substitute whipped cream with homemade pastry cream. I’m craving custard and in my mind, custard and pineapple sounds delicious.  Plus I like to reap the benefit of not having leftover eggs yolks sitting awkwardly in my fridge. :)

Mini Pavlovas with Pineapple and Pastry Cream

(Makes 4 personal sized pavlovas – about 10cm /4 inches in diameter)

Ingredients for Pavlova:-

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/3 tbsp cornflour

Ingredients for pastry cream:-

(recipe is from The Original Masterclass – Le Cordon Bleu)

  • 200 ml (7 oz) milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, split lenghtways
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

My choice of toppings:-

  • a quarter pineapple (c/o King of Fruit), peeled and finely diced
  • 2 tbsps shredded coconut, toasted in the oven for 1 minute or until brown slightly at 200 degrees C / 392 degree F.

Method:-

  • Preheat oven to 150 degrees C / 302 degrees F.
  • With a hand held mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peak is achieved. Given the speed range 1 to 5 of my hand held mixer, I started from speed no. 1 and eventually increase to speed no. 3. The speed remained at speed no.3 until soft peak form is achieved.

  • When the egg whites has reached their soft peak form (see picture below),  add the sugar gradually while continue beating the egg whites at a high speed (this time I increased the speed to no.5). When you have finished adding the sugar, continue beating the egg whites until the texture is no longer grainy when test with your fingers (the sugar will dissolve as you beat the egg whites). The egg whites should also appear to be glossy too! Then fold in vinegar and sifted cornflour until well mixed.

  • Dollop the egg whites on a baking paper lined tray. Try to make a small dent in the middle on the pav so that you can place the pineapples and pastry cream on the pav at a later stage.

{ready to be baked}

  • Bake the pavlova for 20 minutes or until the exterior appears to be harden and crispy.  Switch off the oven and let the pav cool in the oven with the oven door ajar.

{mini pavlovas – done baking and cooled}

  •   To make the pastry cream – place the milk and vanilla in a pot and bring slowly to the boil.

  • In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar until light in colour.

  •  Sift in the flour and cornflour and whisk until well combined.  Remove and discard the vanilla pod, then pour half the boiling milk into the yolk mixture, whisk well and return to the pot with the remaining milk. Bring to boil (I think it’s best to do it over low heat), stirring constantly and boil for 1 minute to completely cook the flour.

  • Remove from the heat and transfer to a flat bowl to cool. Cover the surface with baking paper to prevent a skin forming. Leave to cool.

  • In the meantime, peel and diced the pineapple. Set aside in the fridge.

  • To assemble the pavs – transfer the pavs (carefully) to dessert plates, dollop some pastry cream on top (note: whisk until smooth before using), add diced pinapples and finish with a sprinkling of toated shreadded coconut. Serve immediately.

p/s: The reason I didn’t submit the recipe into the competition was because I wasn’t happy with the look of the pavs. Out of the four pavs I made, there were two that were heavily cracked and almost collapsed when the pastry cream and pineapples were added. However, what the pavs lack in the aesthetic department, it makes up for in taste. I must say I’m really prefer pastry cream over whipped cream as a topping as well as the whole tropical vibe I had going on with the pineapple and toasted coconut – which in tune with my desire for a tropical holiday!

   
5 Responses to Mini Pavlovas with Pineapple and Pastry Cream
  1. Liren
    October 9, 2011 | 6:47 am

    Well, I find your pavlovas heavenly! I’ll never forget the first pavlova I tasted, it left such an indelible mark on my mind. Your pastry cream makes it divine!

    • Emily
      October 9, 2011 | 7:05 am

      Hi Liren,

      Thanks for the vote of confidence! :) I’m still trying to get over the cracked surface, lol. I should learn to accept pav as it is..hehe!

  2. Anna
    October 9, 2011 | 3:27 pm

    Yey! I love this recipe because I can have different toppings each time I will be making one. Peaches? Fruit mix? Kiwi? I am already completing my list. Great post!

  3. sara
    October 9, 2011 | 6:44 pm

    Lovely! What a gorgeous dessert…sounds delicious, I really like pineapple and meringue together. Bet this tastes just amazing!

  4. foodie @ tastingspot
    October 9, 2011 | 9:35 pm

    never had pavlovas so far… but these look amazing… will definitely have to try them out

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