Kiwi Strawberry Pavlova, Lime Coconut Yogurt Whipped Cream

Kiwi Strawberry Pavlova, Lime Coconut Yogurt Whipped Cream

Kiwi Strawberry Pavlova
Lime Coconut Yogurt Whipped Cream

Oh how I wish I could ask my mother about the history of the beautiful vintage candy dish pedestals that I inherited. I don’t know their age but I vaguely remember them appearing on special occasions in my childhood, piled with individually wrapped little fruit candies…

Enamored of these pedestals, I’ve photographed them with two dessert recipes this week alone. Leaning much more to the savory side, this just might be the first time in ten years for back-to-back sweet recipes on Taste With The Eyes. Both the Pavlova and the Vegan Cheesecakes feature fresh fruit, are gluten-free, and couldn’t be more delightful for summer entertaining.

Pavlova is a charming meringue-based dessert named after prima ballerina Ánna Pávlova. It is typically filled with whipped cream and fresh fruit. I give the whipped cream extra pizzazz by blending the cream with tangy yogurt and flavoring it with coconut and lime. The synergistic colors and flavors of kiwifruit and strawberries result in a dessert almost as captivating as the ballerina herself.

Kiwi Strawberry Pavlova Recipe

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Pavlova – A Light, Elegant, Gluten-Free Dessert

Pavlova with Whipped Yogurt Cream, Kiwi, Passion Fruit, Blackberry, Mint

Pavlova with Whipped Yogurt Cream
Kiwifruit, Passionfruit, Blackberry, Mint

A trio of colorful fresh fruit is ensconced on a pillow of whipped yogurt cream atop a light airy sweet meringue. Beyond its function as a pretty little garnish, mint adds refreshing herbal notes. The eponymous dessert is as elegant and graceful as the Russian ballerina herself.

Pavlova is my favorite dessert to serve at an al fresco luncheon. Filled with irresistible fresh fruits, and whipped cream blended with non-fat Greek yogurt which adds an invigorating tartness while cutting the fat by half. These beauties are perfect for my gluten-free friends, my lower-fat friends, and my fruit-for-dessert friends. The individual meringue shells can be baked into various sizes, from a substantial dessert portion to a mini-portion for those who prefer just a “bite” of something sweet.

Pavlova – A Light, Elegant, Gluten-Free Dessert

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Banana Split Pavlovas

A Banana Split Pavlova - For Both Adults and Kids!

 Banana Split Pavlova – A “Sick” Dessert For Both Adults and Kids!

I learned this adjective from my nephews. It now means crazy, cool, insane. OK. This dessert is definitely sick. Our beloved sophisticated pavlova, a refined dessert created to honor prima ballerina Ánna Pávlova, at the turn of the last century has been turned on its graceful ear, so to speak.

Here, our marshmallowy meringue is filled with low-fat vanilla yogurt (for the adults) or ice cream and whipped cream (for the kids). Then it is topped with fresh pineapple and banana, chopped peanuts, a wild drizzle of hot fudge, and studded with (natural, no artificial color) maraschino cherries. For an extra kick, the adults’ cherries get soaked in brandy.  It is not the finale for your next elegant dinner party. But it is delightful and playful, a sick dessert with wholesome “banana split” ingredients for adults and kids alike.

Banana Split Pavlovas Recipe

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Mixed Berry Pavlova with Elderflower Lemon Curd Yogurt

Mixed Berry Pavlova with Elderflower Lemon Curd Yogurt
PAVLOVA
A Caramelized Meringue Cake with a Crisp Shell and a Marshmallowy Center
Filled with Elderflower Lemon Curd Yogurt
Elderflower Macerated Cherries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries

This enchanting global dessert ~ named after a RUSSIAN ballerina, created in either NEW ZEALAND or AUSTRALIA (both countries claim it as a national dish), flavored with a FRENCH liqueur (St. Germain Elderflower), filled with GREEK yogurt ~ happens to make a festive red, white, and blue addition to our Independence Day menu, here in the UNITED STATES.

4th of July Mixed Berry Pavlova with Elderflower Lemon Curd Yogurt

Over the years I have made several pavlovas, cooked in different ovens, at different temperatures from 250° to 300°F. This incarnation was cooked at the higher temperature and resulted in a delightful caramelized meringue with the signature soft marshmallowy center. (I suggest cooking at the lower temperature if you prefer a pale meringue). After it is baked, turn off the oven and slowly cool the meringue with the oven door slightly ajar to achieve the perfect texture and to prevent it from deflating.

Mixed Berry Pavlova with Elderflower Lemon Curd Yogurt Recipe

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A “Down Under” BBQ & Blueberry Limoncello Pavlova

blueberry pavlova recipe

PAVLOVA
Blueberry, Lemon Curd with Limoncello, Greek Yogurt

Gidday Mates! This past weekend we celebrated our friend Chip’s birthday, as well as my new BBQ grill with a “Down Under” Party. The idea started with “shrimp on the barbie” and grew from there with Australian wines, beers, and ports, grilled lamb steaks, grilled corn, grilled bread, salads, cheeses, and more. And of course there had to be the quintessential dessert, Australia’s beloved Pavlova. And being us, we had to put booze in the pavlova. Limoncello to be exact. We do love our themed dinner parties.

In this simple but beautiful blueberry limoncello pavlova, the sweet meringue dissolves on the tongue, the lively lemon curd spiked with limoncello adds a surprisingly zippy note which is balanced by the tart yogurt and the heavenly fresh blueberries that pop in the mouth. Could it have been too elegant for our outback party?

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Beautiful Pavlova

Beautiful Pavlova

PAVLOVA
Blueberry, Raspberry, and Blackberry
in Chai Lavender Syrup
Greek Yogurt and Mint


ANNA PAVLOVA
In the Fokine/Saint-Saëns
The Dying Swan
Saint Petersburg, 1905

Anna Pavlova (February 12, 1881 – January 23, 1931) was a Russian ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th century. She is widely regarded as one of the most famous and popular classical ballet dancers in history. Pavlova is most recognized for the creation of the role The Dying Swan. She would become the first ballerina to tour ballet around the world.

Inspired by swans that she had seen in public parks and Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Dying Swan,” Anna Pavlova asked Michel Fokine to create a solo ballet for her for a 1905 concert. Fokine suggested Saint-Saëns’s cello solo, Le Cygne, as the work’s musical basis and Pavlova agreed.

Years later, while touring in The Hague, Netherlands, Pavlova was told that she had pleurisy and needed an operation. She was also told that she would never be able to dance again if she had this operation. She refused to have the operation saying “If I can’t dance then I’d rather be dead.”

Three weeks later she died of pleurisy, just short of her 50th birthday. She was holding her costume from The Dying Swan when she spoke her last words, “Play the last measure very softly.”

In accordance with old ballet tradition, on the day she was to have next performed, the show went on as scheduled, with a single spotlight circling an empty stage where she would have been.

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after Ánna Pávlova.

The dessert is believed to have been created to honor the dancer during one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Exactly where it was created, and the nationality of its creator, have been a source of argument between the two nations for many years. (from wikipedia here and here)

Pavlova Recipe

Beat 3 large egg whites with 1/8 t. cream of tartar at medium speed until frothy. Beat in 3/4 c. sugar, one tablespoon at a time.

The meringue should be thick and glossy.

Spoon the meringue onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Use the back of a spoon to make wells or indentations in the meringue to hold the yogurt. Bake in a 250° oven for one hour. Then turn off the oven and let cool in the oven for one hour.

Combine 1/2 c. sugar with 1/2 c. water in a sauce pan, bring to a boil then remove from heat. Add a Chai tea bag and 1/4 t. lavender buds. Let stand 10 minutes, then strain into a bowl. Let cool then toss berries in the syrup.

We filled the meringues with non-fat Greek yogurt, then topped with berries, syrup and fresh mint. Most pavlovas are topped with whipped cream, but since we used non-fat Greek yogurt, this dessert falls into the heart-healthy category. No fat, no cholesterol, and healthful anti-oxidants in the berries too, it makes a gorgeous wholesome dessert for entertaining.

We served this dessert at our Porchetta Party. Light and airy and refreshing, it was a beautiful complement to our dinner.

I want to extend a special thank you to my dear friend Chef Allison for preparing the pavlovas. They were absolutely stunning!

This delightful recipe was inspired by one in Food & Wine Magazine February 2010 issue, or can be found on-line here.