Low Sugar Low Fat Berry Pavlova
A Pavlova dessert is always a show stopper, is fairly low in refined sugar and fat calories even before it is adapted for low fat and low sugar preferences, and honestly isn’t that complicated, if you have patience.
Pavlovas are meringue-based dessert cradles, usually filled with fruit or custard an chocolate, and named after Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballerina. They are quite similar to the meringue cookies you see in tubs at your gourmet grocer — soft and light and full of holes and crannies on the inside, with a crisp shell on the outside.
We’ve tried many recipes, but we most often use a version created by Linda of Fit Bottomed Eats because we agree that when fruit at the height of the season is used, the Pavlova shell doesn’t need to be full of sugar. The berries will carry the day. Here we’ve adapted Linda’s recipe, but only slightly.
- 4 extra-large egg whites, room temperature
- Pinch kosher salt
- 3/4 cup Splenda granular
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
- Non-fat whipped dairy topping
- 2 cup mixed berries (defrosted or fresh)
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
- 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 (to avoid getting pencil carbon on the meringue.)
- 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 Splenda granular (or granulated sweetener of your choice), and cream of tartar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
- Add vanilla and orange zest 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-ish nest.
- 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.
- Invert the meringue onto a serving plate and spread the top completely with non-fat whipped dairy topping. Top with fresh sliced berries and additional orange zest, spooning the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue.
- Cut the circle into 4 equal wedges and serve immediately.
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, skip the sugar and save on calories.
If the berries are a tad bland, macerate them with a splash of orange liquor and a bit of lemon juice.
You can make the rounds smaller and stack them like a layer cake, as shown.
Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.