The Dallas Morning News

Pavlovas are desserts that put spring in your step

- By LESLIE BRENNER Restaurant Critic Twitter: @lesbren

Pavlovas are having a moment in restaurant­s — at least here in Dallas, where one of the city’s top pastry chefs, Keith Cedotal, is turning out beautiful, individual­ly sized versions at fashionabl­e Mirador, the new restaurant atop Forty Five Ten on Main.

So, what’s a Pavlova? Why so brilliant for Passover?

It’s an Australian dessert named for Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (so the story goes), after one of her tours through Australia. Traditiona­lly it’s a large, thick meringue disc — hard and crisp on the outside, soft and pillowy on the inside — topped with whipped cream and berries or other fruit. Made this way, it’s sliced into wedges to serve.

Cedotal’s dessert at Mirador is an individual­ly sized meringue shell filled with mixed berries and citrus mousse; he serves it with a quenelle of lush, mixed-berry sorbet.

As I dipped into the delicately crunchy version at Mirador recently, it suddenly dawned on me: A mini strawberry Pavlova would be the perfect dessert for Passover. Let me count the ways: 1. There’s no flour, making the dessert welcome at the Passover table.

2. They star strawberri­es, just as the fruit comes into the full flush of its season.

3. They’re beautiful and impressive-looking, yet easy and foolproof to make.

4. You can make their meringue bases ahead of time — even the day before — and cut and macerate the berries in advance. All that’s left to do last-minute is whip cream and assemble the Pavlovas, which is no harder than assembling strawberry shortcake. They’re easy enough to manage during the craziness of a Seder.

Besides being chic and delicious, Pavlovas also happen to be gluten-free — just the thing for gluten-intolerant berry lovers who are accustomed to passing up the strawberry shortcake.

When I say Pavlovas are easy to make, I’m not kidding. All you do is whip up some egg whites, beat in sugar and, if you like, a touch of lemon or orange liqueur. If you want to get fancy, add some lemon zest. Spoon them into messy circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for less than an hour, till they’re light golden and hard to the touch.

Layer them with whipped cream and strawberri­es (macerated in a touch of lemon liqueur or orange liqueur if you like), and there you are. If they’re messy, or the meringues break, that’s OK — disheveled is part of their charm.

Brilliant, right? Help yourself to the recipe at cookswitho­ strawberry-pavlovas.

 ?? Leslie Brenner/Staff ?? Individual­ly sized strawberry Pavlovas are chic, delicious, gluten-free and perfect for Passover.
Leslie Brenner/Staff Individual­ly sized strawberry Pavlovas are chic, delicious, gluten-free and perfect for Passover.

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