Anyone hosting a holiday meal knows it takes some juggling to coordinate the available oven and kitchen space. Ensuring multiple dishes are ready at the same time is a real skill. Added to the mix is the kitchen being where everyone gathers to share the festive spirit whether assisting in making the meal or not.
To help lighten the workload on the day of the gathering and reduce worry that it will all come together masterfully, consider prepping at least a couple of the dishes in advance. The meringue base of my all-time favourite dessert, Pavlova, can be made up to 2 days in advance. It’s a very special treat that always impresses while being significantly lighter than many holiday desserts full of cream cheese, rich sauces or calories. It can be made in a round or square pan and takes on a new look every time depending on the combination of fruit used to top it. Berries and pomegranate seeds always wow. Peach or fig slices also look pretty.
We have so much to be grateful for in Canada, including access to an abundance of safe, wholesome food. I wish you all the very best of health and happiness this holiday season and in the year ahead.
Christmas Pavlova – Serves 6
- 6 eggs whites, no trace of yolk
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 2 cups whipped cream
- 1-2 cups fresh or frozen fruit and a few mint leaves
- Preheat oven to 325⁰F. Line the bottom and sides of a pie plate or spring-form pan with parchment paper.
- In a clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
- Combine sugars in a small bowl. Add half of the mixture to the egg whites and whip until sugar is dissolved. Continue adding sugar 1 Tbsp at a time, whipping well after each addition. Meringue mixture should have stiff, glossy peaks. Sprinkle cornstarch and vinegar in and gently fold being careful not to lose any volume.
- Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Spread in a swirl motion and build up the sides to form a small well in the bottom.
- Bake at 325⁰F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 250⁰F and continue baking for 1¼ hours until golden. It is done when hard and crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy inside. Allow to cool fully. Can be prepped up to 2 days in advance, covered and kept on the counter or in the oven with the heat completely off.
- To serve: top with whipped cream or a mixture of whipped cream and Greek yogurt. Top with fruit and mint.