Miniature Pavlovas – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Miniature Pavlovas - FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Ignore the dietary guidelines that these Pavs suit in the title… these are not  a health food.

I didn’t think it was possible to love a dessert more than I love a good Pav but I found one. I suppose it might not really count, as these are still Pavlovas… but they’re mini, cute and you don’t feel like such a guts after eating one, as I find it easier to have just one of these than to cut a small slice from a big Pav.

Sweet, with a crispy outside and a perfect marshmallowy inside… what more could you want? Whipped cream and fruit on top? Of course you can.

These are perfect for a dinner party or a high tea (I really want to host one of those!), as you can bake them a day ahead and store them (once cooled) in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (aka. the pantry). They will turn a little soft in the fridge (though they still taste amazing) but once the whipped cream has gone on, that’s where they need to be stored.

Notes:

  1. Sucrose (castor sugar) is 1:1 fructose/glucose but if eaten in excess can overwhelm the co-transport method of fructose absorption, so for this reason I would recommend stopping yourself at one mini Pav per day. Which even normal people should do, really.
  2. Normal double cream can be swapped out for lactose free double cream or full fat coconut cream (both of which can be whipped) or lactose free yoghurt.
  3. Two raspberries and 1-2 tbsp. of strawberry sauce would fall within the label of a “single serving” of fruit.

Miniature Pavlovas

Makes approx. 16

  • 4 eggs whites
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp. corn or potato starch
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 300 ml double cream – lactose free if required
  • Fruit of your choice to top

Pre-heat the oven to 150 C/300 F.

In a cool, airy kitchen (no dishwasher running!) beat together the egg whites and salt on a medium speed for 2 minutes, then a high speed for a further 3 minutes, or until satiny peaks form.

Then add in the sugar (in thirds) and beat on a high speed until stiff peaks form. This is important, as you need the batter to hold its shape or it will just pool once you’ve piped it onto the baking tray.

Finally, add in the potato starch, white wine vinegar and vanilla extract and stir on a slow speed for a minute to combine everything.

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Transfer the mixture to a piping bag (or a large zip lock bag with a 1 cm snip off the corner) and pipe about 1/3 cup batter in a swirl onto the baking tray. As Ev said, they will look like Pavlova dog poo – have a laugh and keep going. I spaced mine evenly and had eight mini Pavs per baking tray.

Bake for 50-60 minutes at 150 C/300 F, swapping the bottom/top trays half way through to ensure equal cooking.

Once they have cooled, top with whipped cream and berries and serve with this strawberry sundae sauce or passion fruit pulp drizzled over the top.

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Pavlova – Low FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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A Pavlova is a variation of a meringue, in which the outer shell is crisp and crunchy and the inner core is like marshmallow – light, soft and chewy. It is traditionally covered in whipped cream and decorated with fruits and maybe some shredded chocolate… which reminds me, I should put Flake on my shopping list for when we go home next.

Aussies and New Zealanders have a fierce argument going on about where exactly the Pavlova originated. All we know for sure is that it was named in honour of the ballerina, Anna Pavlova – apparently it was light and airy, just like her dancing. The Wikipedia page purports that “formal research” suggests the Pavlova hails from New Zealand… but considering this was published by the University of Otago –  in New Zealand! –  I doubt how unbiased it truly is. Being Australian, I of course take our own side. The “Pav” is ours!

My Gran was always the Pavlova-maker of our family. For every occasion, she’d make a Pav… until about 10 years ago when she got a new oven and swore it couldn’t make them like her old oven. It was one of the first things she taught me to bake, after cornflakes cookies. I always think of her when I make one, and how she would scold me for leaving the little white lump in the egg whites. She loved her old wive’s tales.

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One of Mum’s Pavlovas: strawberries, raspberries and “Flake” chocolate topping

If you are sensitive to table sugar, then the Pavlova is probably going to cause some sort of reaction. If you are diabetic, then stay away! The main ingredient is sugar. This is definitely a “sometimes” food, in all meanings of the word; desserts like this shouldn’t be eaten every night, or you’ll end up like the side of a house.

For FMers, reducing your daily fructose load can be done by limiting your sucrose (table sugar) intake, even though sucrose is 1:1 fructose/glucose, which technically assists with fructose absorption but is seems that if you gorge on sucrose the glucose co-transport system will eventually be overwhelmed and symptoms will ensue. If you’re worried, just make sure you really cut back on fructose before eating a slice of this beauty. I can get away with a slice of Pavlova (okay, sometimes two) and not react.

Pavlova:

  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature*
  • 1 pich table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp. corn starch or 1 tsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 300 ml/half pint of double/heavy whipping cream
  • Fruits of your choice

*The rule of thumb with Pavlovas is to use eggs left to come to room temperature over night. However, when I do this, my batter doesn’t form a stiff enough peak and I end up having to add extra sugar. I find the best thing is to leave the egg whites out of the fridge for 20 minutes to take the chill off but still leave enough of the cool in there to help the peaks maintain their shape.

Before you start – you can’t make a Pav in an overly warm or a humid environment. The peaks wont stay formed. Don’t use your dishwasher beforehand and don’t have the heater on! A nice, breezy kitchen is best. But isn’t it always?

Preheat your non fan-forced oven to 180 C/350 F.

Beat the salt and egg whites at high speed for about 5 minutes – this allows satiny peaks to form. The more air in your batter, the stiffer the peaks.

Gradually add the sugar, in two or three bouts, and continue to beat on high until stiff, shiny peaks form. Ensure that the sugar is thoroughly mixed through and not coating the base of your mixing bowl. Scrape it in with a spatula and re-mix if this happens.

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To test if you have stiff peaks, raise the beater out of the batter and see if the resultant peak stays upright. If it sinks back into the mixture, keep beating until it doesn’t. If you are very confident of your peaks, the “gold standard” test is to hold your mixing bowl upside-down and see if the mixture stays inside (which it should!)… but this takes some guts. It’s a fun trick to scare Pavlova newbies with, though.

Sometimes you might need to add a little extra sugar to help the peaks form properly – however, do this sparingly as too much sugar will not be able to combine with the egg whites and will make for a “syrupy” Pavlova that will stick to baking paper and be brittle.

Once you have stiff peaks, sprinkle over the corn starch, white wine vinegar and vanilla extract and beat in on a slow speed.

Heap the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place it in the middle shelf of your oven and immediately lower the temperature to 150 C/300 F. Set the timer for 30 minutes. Next, lower the temperature further to 120 C/250 F and set the timer for a further 45 minutes.

Uncooked Pavlova

Uncooked Pavlova

If your Pavlova develops beads of moisture on its surface, that means it is over-cooking. It isn’t a failure, though. It might just end up a little extra crunchy in the middle. Reduce the temperature a little for the remainder of the cooking time if you see this happen, to try and prevent excessive dryness in the centre.

When it is done, turn off your oven and let the Pavlova cool in there with the door closed.

To serve, place on a cake stand/plate. Cover it with whipped cream and decorate with fruit. “Favourable” fruits, of course. For a slightly richer cream, add some vanilla extract before you whip it. And get creative with the decorations! You can lay out fresh fruit in patterns or serve it with a fruit compote.

Pavlova

Mum and I made this one last Easter when we went home to visit: raspberries and passion fruit, with a “crown” edge to the Pavlova. To achieve this look, you use a spatula to wipe up the edges before baking. This is also a two layered Pavlova with whipped cream in the centre.

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A simple strawberry design can still look good and is quick to do

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Kiwi fruit slices and passion fruit pulp – delicious

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Canned passion fruit pulp… shipped all the way from Australia! Passion fruit is impossible to find in the PNW.

Enjoy!You can’t get more traditional than passion fruit.