Berry-lime pavlova, a light dessert that puts fresh fruit in the spot light and takes very little time in the kitchen.
Most years we choose to stay home for the 4th of July. We have a little BBQ and a front row seat to watch fireworks. Fireworks are still legal in our neighborhood so we enjoy a 360 degree display from the end of our driveway, the neighbors never disappoint.
My mother, firecracker that she is, was born a few days shy of Independence Day. A few years ago, we turned one celebration into two and celebrated Mom's birthday on the holiday. I asked the birthday girl to choose the dessert.
Mom requested something light and fresh to keep her on track to loose one last pound before vacation. Of course, I was happy to honor her wish.
Making pavlova had been a bee in my bonnet for sometime. I love making individual meringues - which make an excellent low calorie sweet treat. I was eager to give this meringue based dessert a try.
Delightfully, berry-lime pavlova is a beautiful, healthy, dessert that is also fast, easy, and super delicious.
To make this dessert all you need is a fluffy meringue pillow to hold a bit of whipped cream and fruit. The precise nuance is up to personal taste. For this occasion I added a bit of vanilla pudding to the whipped cream giving the dessert a bit more body. There is also hints of citrus in both the meringue and the cream.
I presented Mom with a confection worthy of her birthday celebration. As requested a single serving of berry-lime pavlova kept her eating goal on track. It also indulged my personal craving for something ooey-gooey and sweet.
The unexpected bonus came from Dad, who complimented the pavlova not one, but at least three times. From a man who has very specific ideas about what makes a good dessert, his enthusiasm sealed the deal - pavlova will most certainly be on the menu at future celebrations.
- 4 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tarter
- pinch salt
- 1 cup sugar ⅔ white + ⅓ raw for deeper flavor
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime & lime juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- optional- 2 teaspoons of citrus zest
- ½ cup whipping cream to equal 1 cup whipped – may substitute whipped topping
- 2 teaspoons lime & lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup vanilla pudding
- 2 berries dried, and sliced if needed
Prepare the Meringue Base
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You may want to draw a simple circle stencil on the reverse side of your parchment. Measure the diameter of your serving plate and draw your circle about a ½ inch smaller. The meringue will puff out just a bit while baking. For food safety reasons make sure the pencil or pen line is face down on the pan not touching your meringue.
- Whip the egg whites in a large bowl with cream of tarter and salt until they form soft peaks. This can be done by hand but works best with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time and continue whipping until glossy firm peaks form. Your meringue is stiff enough when you can hold the bowl upside down over your head with no fear of the eggs falling on you – try it! If adding zest fold it in to the batter.
- Use a spatula to scoop your meringue on to the parchment lined pan. Use a light hand to keep the air in the meringue. With soft strokes shape the meringue into a shallow bowl with the sides mounded higher than the center.
- Bake about 1 ¼ hours until firm to the touch. Keep an eye on the meringue as it bakes and reduce the oven heat to 225 if it begins to darken. Remove the meringue when it is firm but before it dries into a styrofoam frisbee. Allow the meringue to cool completely before completing the dessert. If preparing in advance – leave the base on the baking sheet and wrap it tightly with plastic film. It should keep for a day or two in a cool dry spot.
Prepare the topping
- Rinse your berries and allow them to dry completely. Slice or chop berries as needed to make bite sized pieces.
- If whipping the cream from liquid – beat the lime/lemon juice and syrup into the cream and beat until fluffy. Fold the pudding into the whipped cream. If using prepared whipped topping – fold together the topping, juice, syrup, and pudding.
- Right before serving – spoon the cream over the meringue base and top with the prepared berries. Garnish with a bit of lime or lemon zest. Serve immediately.
Originally published 8/2013. Text and images updated 6/2017