Low-Calorie, Low-Sugar Strawberry Pavlova Recipe
Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries who is regarded as one of the finest classical ballet dancers in history. These puffy pale caramel-colored clouds of goodness are soft and light on the inside and crisp on the outside. They are the perfect vehicle to gently cradle sweet and ripe in-season strawberries. For this Pavlova recipe, I’ve cut the sugar content by a third versus most Pavlova recipes, as summer in-season strawberries are naturally at their height of flavor and sweetness.
Serves: Four to six depending upon serving size
4 extra-large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch kosher salt
¾ c sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
Non-fat whipped dairy topping
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide. Then, turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side. (This way you won’t get a pencil mark on the meringue.)
3. Place the room temperature egg whites and salt in the bowl. Beat the egg whites with using an electric mixer on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and cream of tartar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
4. Add vanilla and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, shaping it into a round nest. (Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect circle.) Bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 2 hours longer. It should be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
5. Invert the meringue disc onto a plate and spread the top completely with non-fat whipped dairy topping. Top with fresh sliced strawberries—spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue.
Strawberry Pavlova Tips:
- Use older egg whites as they set up significantly better than fresh eggs.
- Skip making this recipe on a rainy day because the egg whites will not set up right and will tend to be weepy.
- Make sure to leave the Pavlova in the oven after cooking for the entire hour. Otherwise, it tends to fall.
- Many Pavlova recipes call for mixing sugar into the berries. If the berries are in season, sweet and juicy, I prefer to skip the sugar and save on calories.
- Feel free to use any other favorite, seasonal fruit if you don’t have strawberries on hand.
It’s such a fresh and summery dessert! Tell us, do you have a favorite strawberry recipe? —Linda LaRue