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Easy Pavlova Recipe | Strawberry Pavlova with Pistachios
Dessert

Strawberry Pavlova Recipe & The Book

March 11, 2015 | 34 Comments
Strawberry Pavlova Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

“I oversee the food and drink publishing at Chronicle Books in San Francisco.” I didn’t get it. I thought I was being pranked.

My memory heaved me back to a few months prior. I sat alone on the outskirts of Riverside Park, umbrella in hand, where I suavely obnoxiously laid a copy of that morning’s New York Times on the sodden bench. The fog was as thick as stiffly whipped meringue, the air smelled of dog breath and gasoline, and the trusty automatic umbrella I had since middle school graduation saw better days. Despite it all, I patiently waited it out to take a phone call from an acquaintance at a big publishing house there in the city. I was excited; I wanted to write a cookbook and I wanted to hear her honest opinion about what I should do next. After I stupidly confused the honks of several yellow cabs for my ringtone, my chunky silver flip phone vibrated and Pocketful of Sunshine pierced the humid September air as I shuffled to compose myself, “HELLO!”

Strawberry Pavlova Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com
Strawberry Pavlova Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com


The phone call was brief; she told me to contact her about writing a book when I achieved near-impossible (in my mind) numerical fetes. I knew it was a safe bet, and the right thing to do. After all, she’s the editor at a prestigious publishing house and knows better. In spite of that, what I heard felt like a firm, wind-lugging blow to the stomach . . . I suck at math, and numbers are always the last thing I want to focus on. I just wanted a chance. Despite the conversation, I stubbornly refused to let my dream disappear into the smog; I kept it in the back of my mind.

I shuddered, and my mind transported me back to New Jersey; I was caught off-guard by that email. I scooped up my laptop and barreled into my Mom’s bedroom. “Mom, I need you to read this out loud.” The harsh smell of nail polish waved past my nose. She’d just painted her fingernails a vibrant strawberry red, “Hand those to me, please.” She signaled for her glasses, and carefully slid them onto her face using the pads of her fingers.

Strawberry Pavlova Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

I placed the computer on her lap, and pointed at where to read, “I oversee the food and drink publishing at Chronicle Books . . . I’m sure you’re plenty busy, but if you want to chat about book ideas give me a shout.”
“Mom.” I looked at her, wide-eyed.
“Kamran, they want you to write a book! Is this real? I swear to God, you’d better email
her back.”

I felt my lips quiver, my heart drop, and tears fill my eyes. It was as if one of Scheherazade’s genies spiraled into my life like a veil of spun sugar, ready to grant three wishes after centuries of imprisonment. The universe spoke and it was in my favor; I was going to write a book.

Strawberry Pavlova Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

Fast forwarding past the meetings, emails, phone calls, and contracts, I finally had a concept ready. It was an instructional on everything I loved to cook and bake— a risky idea I was set on. They weren’t sold on the concept; it was back to the drawing board for me, and my new instructions were to do something I didn’t dare want to think about doing: a baking book. It was a scary task I felt was best left to the people who’ve been doing it well for a long time— people like David and Mary Berry.

Strawberry Pavlova Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

After a lot of brainstorming and a tight deadline floating over my head, I declared I’d write a book on baking, not a baking book. I feel like the whole point of writing a book is to write something you want to read. I may have confused you a bit on the whole “baking book versus book on baking” bit; there’s a difference in my eyes. A baking book is simply a book with recipes: an instructional, a textbook lacking in personality. It’s baking books that people fear, and I didn’t want to add to them. Hand Made Baking is a book about baking.

Strawberry Pavlova Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

Baking has always been my form of unwinding. It’s my therapy and the ultimate means in which I can express my love and care for others. Sharing something delicious, made with your hands— that’s the true essence of baking. Baking isn’t meant to be feared, but rather embraced. Hand Made Baking, from the moment the idea smacked me upside the head, was to embody that; with sharing and confidence-building being at the center of it all.

Strawberry Pavlova Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

Hand Made Baking is my love letter to you. It’s a love letter in which I’ve revivified the past and left all assumptions behind. Whether you’re making my nostalgic Nancy Drew Blondies or something as charming as my Caribbean Princess Cake, I’m there guiding you through each step. You won’t find conventional chemistry equation-like recipes in this book. Because there’s so much I don’t have control of, I am a maniac about the details I can control, and thankfully I was given the freedom to do what I felt is right. I wanted the recipes to be approachable no matter where you are in the world; no matter if you’re using cup measurements or a kitchen scale. All of the ingredients are measured appropriately for you.

There’s no proper break-down of the book anywhere online, and I want to give it to you here.

Strawberry Pavlova Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

Hand Made Baking is broken down as such:

– There’s the Introduction— no explanation needed here.

– After the introduction, comes Kitchen Basics. Kitchen basics is a section dedicated to informing you about anything and everything you might need while making the recipes from the book. I give alternatives, various brand names, and my personal favorites to help you decide what to get when you’re stocking up on baking equipment.

– Next is what I like to regard as one of the most important sections of the book— Before you Begin. I liken this part of the book to grandmotherly guidance– it’s far from patronizing; it’s more like friendly baking advice from . . . your sweet grandmother (I know, I know. I’m a dude. Let’s pretend I’m one of the Golden Girls, for the sake of making a point, shall we?). It’s everything you need to know about your oven, baking times, a reminder to check expiration dates, and how to measure accurately– essential, especially if you’re using cups.

– Then comes the recipe chapters— Rise and Shine (breakfast), As Easy as 1-2-3 (pie and pastries), Three O’Clock (cookies of all sorts), Piece of Cake (cakes galore), and Spread a Little Butter on That! (breads). Every recipe in the book has at least one photo accompanying it. And those recipes requiring visual guidance, have just that— multiple photos displaying those techniques.

Strawberry Pavlova Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

At the core of Hand Made Baking is good, honest recipes for bakers of all ranks. This Pavlova is one of my favorites from the book. I’ve tweaked it a bit for the sake of celebrating a long journey— smog, strawberry red nail polish, and revivification. Give it a try; I know you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re interested in ordering a copy of the book, I’ve included all the details below (book trailer and another delicious post to come soon!).

Strawberry Pavlova Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com


USA
: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Powell’s // Books-A-Million // Chronicle Books // Indie Bound // Google Play // Apple iBooks // NOOK Books // Anthropologie

UK: Amazon UK // Blackwell’s // The Book Depository // Waterstones // Abrams & Chronicle Books // WHSmith // Fishpond.co.uk // Wordery

Canada: Amazon Canada // Indigo // McNally Robinson

For other countries, check here.

Ever-So-Classy Pavlova Recipe
Makes on 8-in/ 20-cm Dessert; Serves 4 to 6 people, or 3 Pav Addicts
Prep time:
Cook time:

Slightly Tweaked from Hand Made Baking: Recipes to Warm The Heart, by Yours truly

This pavlova is as classy as the ballerina for whom the dessert was named, and it’s fit for any occasion. The outside of the pavlova meringue is slightly crisp, but its inside is soft, marshmallow-like, and as billowy as the whipped cream used to top the confection.

To those not fluent in pav-making, it might seem rather unusual to add vinegar (you won’t taste it, I promise) to a decadent dessert, but it’s this tiny bit of acid that keeps the inside marshmallowy and the outside nice and crisp. Once cooled, don’t be alarmed; the pavlova is meant to be sunken and cratered— that’s what adds to the beauty of it— anyway, it’s all going to be covered in the finest accouterments. Here, I’ve covered the top with a duvet of billowy whipped cream, a casual spiral of raspberry jam, several handfuls of strawberries, and a smattering of coarsely chopped pistachio nuts. However, feel free to dress your pavlova to your tastes.

Meringue making does require a bit of man-power and some patience, so be sure to use a clean bowl (avoid anything copper) and some form of electrical assistance— either a handheld mixer or a stand mixer— to make the process easier.

Ingredients:
For the meringue
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups / 250g granulated sugar
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
1 1/4 teaspoons white vinegar

For the topping
1 recipe Billowy Whipped Cream, see recipe below

3 tablespoons raspberry jam, whisked with until smooth
Fruit of your choice (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, passion fruit, etc.)
Chopped pistachio nuts, or another nut of your choice (optional)

Preparation:

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Pre­heat the oven to 250°F/120°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and—this isn’t necessary, but I find it helpful—use a pencil to trace around an 8-in/20-cm cake pan on the parchment paper. Flip the paper over, and set the baking sheet aside.

In a large, clean bowl using a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on the lowest setting. After 15 seconds, gradually increase the speed to the highest setting. Once the mixture begins to foam, add the sugar and salt in a slow, steady stream.

The egg whites will begin to look glossy. Keep beating on high until firm (stiff) peaks form. The mixture should not feel granular when you rub it between your thumb and index finger, and the peak clinging on the wire whisk should stand with the utmost confidence.

Fold the vinegar into the meringue with a metal spoon to avoid deflating, then spoon the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out into the drawn circle (if you’re freehanding it, try to keep it around 8 in/20 cm in diameter and 2 in/5 cm in height). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the outside of the meringue has hardened and the center is still soft and chewy.

Allow the meringue to cool on its pan. Peel off the parchment and transfer the meringue to a plate or cake stand.

Prepare the Billowy Whipped Cream (recipe follows). Spoon the whipped cream onto the pavlova, causally spiral the jam onto the whipped cream (if using), then top with the fruit of your choice and maybe a smattering of pistachio nuts before serving. Serve right away.

Some Notes:
• The pavlova shell will keep, unfilled, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. A filled pav is best eaten on the same day that you make it.

• I know this goes without saying, but it’s better to be safe than sorry: don’t get any yolk in your egg whites; it’ll prevent the meringue from firming up. The same goes for using greasy mixing materials.

Billowy Whipped Cream
Makes about 2 Cups / 240ml

The mixing method for this whipped cream is somewhat unusual, but it results in a beauti­fully droopy and billowy topping that’s perfect for adorning pastries and cakes. I usually whip the cream by hand in a large bowl with a whisk—it’s a good workout. However, a hand­held mixer or stand mixer works just as well. Feel free to adjust the sugar to suit your taste.

Ingredients:
1 cup/240 ml cold heavy (whipping) cream
2 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)

Preparation:

Put a large bowl in the freezer to chill for several minutes before beginning.

In the chilled bowl, using a balloon whisk or a handheld mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), whip together 1/2 cup/120 ml of the cream and the confection­ers’ sugar until firm, stiff peaks form. Whisk in the vanilla (if using). Lightly whisk in the remaining cream to create an ethereal whipped cream.

Keep the whipped cream refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 hours before using

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34 Comments

1
  • Reply Thea @ Baking Magique March 11, 2015 at 4:31 am

    I usually just take a look at all the photos when food bloggers publish new recipes because I follow so many that it’d be impossible to read them all… However, the pictures in this post caught my attention and I HAD to read the post and I don’t regret it! I love that you share how this book came to life and what’s the difference between a baking book and a book about baking. This book is definitely going on my “cookbooks to buy list”. I wish it wasn’t so long though… :)

    • Reply Kamran March 11, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Thea, thank you so much for taking the time to write in. I absolutely can’t thank you enough for your kind word; means a lot to me that you’ll consider getting the book. I appreciate that so much!

    2
  • Reply Amelia from z tasty life March 11, 2015 at 9:11 am

    You are such an inspiration: you do things in an (apparently) effortless way… But ypu just can feel the effort behind every photo, every recipe, every post. Congratulations!!!

    • Reply Kamran March 11, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks so much, lovely Amelia!

    3
  • Reply Chaya March 11, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Kamran, this post is so inspiring! You really transmitted your feeling of excitement as you read that email, and this just shows us that perseverance pays off! Never stop blogging- I love your site!

    • Reply Kamran March 11, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      Wow, thanks so much! I’m so glad you feel that way. All the best!

    4
  • Reply Meline March 11, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Thank you for this! I had just found your beautiful blog right after your prior post, and have been anxiously waiting for the next entry. Your recipes and words make me feel so joyful. I wish you much continued success!

    Meline

    • Reply Kamran March 11, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      It’s my pleasure! Thanks so much for taking the time to read, and thank you so much for your kind words! :)

    5
  • Reply Thalia @ butter and brioche March 12, 2015 at 12:27 am

    I actually just bought a copy of your book a couple of days ago & am looking forward to when it arrives in the mail and I can bake from it! I’m glad I did so because this pavlova looks divine.

    • Reply Kamran March 16, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks so much for the support, Thalia! I hope you enjoy the book :)

    6
  • Reply Cynthia March 12, 2015 at 12:56 am

    “It was as if one of Scheherazade’s genies spiraled into my life like a veil of spun sugar, ready to grant three wishes after centuries of imprisonment.”

    Kam: I love your writing, your photography, this recipe, nd your book. I gave 10 copies of it away at x-mas. Thank you for being you, and please more posts! I always miss your work when you leave us for long periods of time.

    • Reply Kamran March 16, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Oh my goodness! SUPER thank you for your support! I appreciate it so much! And thank you for your very kind words. It’s folks like you who make me love what I do. :)

    7
  • Reply Cynthia March 12, 2015 at 12:57 am

    P.S. Where’s the shirt from??? I <3 it.

    • Reply Kamran March 16, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      It’s from Topman!

    8
  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar March 12, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Whoa, such a gorgeous pavlova! I’m dying to try!

    • Reply Kamran March 16, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks! If you do give it a try; I’d love to hear what you think :)

    9
  • Reply MamaP March 25, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I think your next adventure should just be a novel because even your blog is amazing the way you write things keeps us all intrigued like we’re with you in the moment like I said before everything you touch or do is awesome!!
    Love ya

  • 10
  • Reply Michael April 24, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Kamran– Just discovered your blog today while reading David’s, who had a link to yours. I will be ordering your Hand Made baking book. You are an amazing young man. Your writing style is simply elegant. Your passion for baking shows through in your photography and words. Congratulations to you.

  • 11
  • Reply Shelly April 24, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Kam, I am so happy to find out about your blog (thank you David Labowitz!). Your stories are beautiful just as your recipes are. I would never guess that you’re only 22! Well done. Next time I’m at Barnes & Nobles I will grab your book (I know, I can always order it on Amazon but I take my kids there a lot, so I like to support the store). I totally agree with MamaP’s comment, your next adventure should definitely be a novel. Your writing is very poetic and you have the talent of making me want to read more. Good luck with the book and with the rest of your future project. xxs

    • Reply Kamran April 24, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      Shelly, thank you so much for your sweet words; I’ll definitely keep the thought of a novel in the back of my mind. For now, I’ll share more here on the blog. Thanks so much for your support with buying the book; it truly means a lot to me! :)

    12
  • Reply Jan Newby April 24, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Hullo, the Pavlova is an Antipodean recipe – its orgins are a hotly contested debate between whether New Zealand or Australia invented it – I think a New Zealander invented it. Anyway, it is a much loved national treasure in both countries. There are a LOT of different recipes – some prefer a more crisp pavlova, others a more marshmallow consistency. Some recipes call for a teaspoon of cornflour (cornstarch) as well as the white vinegar.

    Jan

    • Reply Kamran April 24, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      Hi Jan! Oh, I’ve read many of the debates; they’re very intense! From my research, it has origins in New Zealand; a cookbook written back in the 1920s contained a recipe for it– it went by a very simple name, however (Meringue with Fruit Filling, if I remember correctly). The recipe was published during the same year it was said to be created by the chef who was inspired by Anna Pavlova’s tutu (rumor has it that he used Kiwi– a very good choice, I feel). But yes– everyone likes their pavlova a different way. I like mine with a crisp outside and a marshmallowy inside; the juxtaposition of textures just does it for me. :)

    13
  • Reply Kate April 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    What a beautiful looking dessert!

    Kate

  • 14
  • Reply Cali April 25, 2015 at 9:14 am

    What an inspirational story! Congrats on your book. I will look for it…I love all things baking!

    The pavlova looks dreamy. Definately an under-rated dessert. Not sure why they aren’t more popular. I was thinking of getting out my recipe that I haven’t touched in years. Now I will probably give yours a try.

  • 15
  • Reply Debra | The Saffron Girl April 25, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I just discovered you, your site and your book via David Lebovitz. First of all, congratulations on the book! What an amazing feat, especially at your age and in a world filled with cookbooks already! And secondly, what a lovely site. Keep up the great work.

    • Reply Kamran April 26, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Thank you so much, Debra! :)

    16
  • Reply JenJen April 26, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Wow! I found you via my favourite rock star baker David Lebovitz, and I was blown away by your eloquence, attention to detail and your maturity.

    Can’t wait to attend your Asia/PAC book shining tour, it will be a real pleasure to have my copy autographed, and meet you in person. Wishing you every future success!

    • Reply Kamran April 26, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      What a kind message! thank you so much, JenJen! You just made my Sunday even brighter. Hopefully, one day I’ll have a fun tour over there so I can meet you and thank you in person– it’d be fabulous!

    17
  • Reply Mary Frances April 27, 2015 at 11:40 am

    This looks delightful! Your photos are gorgeous.

  • 18
  • Reply Helen May 1, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Kamran, I read about you and your lovely book from David Lebovitz. I went out and bought it and while I was trying to figure out what I would try first, I also was making a list of all my friends I would buy the book for.

    You achieved your goal of presenting recipes that would sooth the soul and delight the palate. Food lovers will surely enjoy these simple, yet scrumptious sweets.

    I wish you much success….you already have made my day!

    Thank you,
    Helen Christ

  • 19
  • Reply Alessandra // the foodie teen June 6, 2015 at 5:52 am

    Kamran, you’ve described the book writing journey so very perfectly; I, too, thought that special email was a prank and asked my mum to read over it to make sure I wasn’t going insane! So many congratulations to you for producing such a gorgeous book – it’s been permanently gracing my kitchen since the day I got my hands on it. This pavlova is stunning – I always think that a good pavlova is tremendously underrated, and you’ve definitely proved that here. Congrats again!

  • 20
  • Reply Maria K August 7, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    This looks gorgeous!

    Could you please clarify if you allow the meringue to cool on its pan after you take it out of the oven or whether, at the end of the baking time, you switch off the oven and let the meringue cool off while still in the oven? I also wonder if you can halve the amount of sugar without compromising the recipe.

  • 21
  • Reply Samira October 16, 2015 at 1:03 am

    What I love the most, aside from the tempting – even sexy – pavlova that you made, is the way you DESCRIBE things.. You made me feel as if you were making a work of art and, in a way, that’s exactly what you did! you sounded like a genius European painter talking passionately about a painting in which he poured out his soul (I’ve never talked to one but am guessing this is what they would sound like when talking about their work :) ). Keep up the good work, if your book were being sold in my country I would definitely have bought it, but who knows? Maybe I will see it being sold here someday too :) good luck to you and I truly hope you never loose this amazing passion that you have :)

  • 22
  • Reply Gail June 21, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Can you use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar?

  • Leave a Reply to Gail Cancel Reply

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