Is there anything better than summertime and desserts? The sun has finally been shinning down on Vancouver and the gorgeous weather is perfect for picnics and barbecues. In my books, no picnic or barbecue is complete without dessert – picnics and barbecues without dessert are like summer days without sun.
One of my favourite desserts to make and eat is pavlova. I love the crisp, shattering shell, the gooey marshmallowy meringue insides, the soft, cool whipped cream, and whatever fruit happens to be on hand. For this recipe I did a riff off of my ultimate favourite dessert ever, Pierre Herme’s Montebello.
Pierre Herme’s Montebello is a work of art. My raspberry pistachio pavlova doesn’t even begin to compare. If you’re ever in Paris, drop by one of Pierre’s many patisseries and pick up a montebello. If you’re lucky, they’ll have them topped with raspberries. If not, the strawberry version is just as delicious. Imagine: a crisp, yet slightly chewy pistachio dacquoise, creamy, nutty pistachio pastry creme and perfectly ripe raspberries. The combination is divine! A couple of years ago, I celebrated my birthday in Paris, and the montebello was my birthday cake of choice.
This is a toned-down, home-style version using all the same flavours, but none of the crazy techniques. The tart-sweet of the raspberries and the nutty crunch of the pistachios with the cloud-like meringue is incredibly addictive. You’ve been warned…once you start eating them, you just can’t stop!
Raspberry Pistachio Pavlova Recipe loosely adapted from nigella.com
yield: 14 mini pavlovas
- 2 large egg whites
- dash of salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- dash of vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup pistachios*, pulsed in the food processor
- 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped into soft peaks
- handful of chopped pistachios for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°F. With your electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with the salt until peaks start to form. Add the sugar in a slow stream. Whip until the eggs are shiny and stiff. Sprinkle in the cornflour, vanilla, vinegar and pistachios. Gently fold to combine.
Scoop the meringue into equal mounds on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and immediately turn down to 300F and bake for 25 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave in for another 25 minutes then remove from the oven. Cool completely.
To serve, top with softly whipped cream, raspberries and an extra sprinkle of chopped pistachios.
*If you want super-green pistachios, blanch them in boiling water for 10-15 seconds. Strain, then rub in a clean tea towel to remove their skins. If the skins are still clinging, you can dump them into cold water while you rub, it helps the skins slip right off.
**BONUS: these pavlovas are only 70 calories each!