SUNDAY SUPPERS: SOHLA EL-WAYLLY’S AMBROSIA PAVLOVA RECIPE
“I was trained as a savory chef, but when I started out, I was often the only girl in the kitchen, so they'd shove me into pastry. They were trying to get rid of me, but it only made me better because now I can do both. This ambrosia pavlova is inspired by my love of American classics, but with a fancy pastry chef twist. I'm swapping the traditional jet-puffed stuff for the pillowy center of a pavlova and piling it high with fresh fruit instead of the usual canned fruit cocktail. But don’t get me wrong, there will always be a place in my heart for the Cool Whip covered classic, too.”—Sohla El-Waylly
Makes 6 pastries
For the vanilla pavlova:
- 1 vanilla bean (optional)
- 5 large (175 g) egg whites
- 1 t. apple cider or red wine vinegar
- 1 t. pure vanilla extract
- ¼ t. Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 240 g (2 c.) powdered sugar
For the coconut whip:
- one 5.4 oz. can coconut cream
- 340 g (1 ½ c.) heavy cream
- 60 g (½ c.) powdered sugar
- ½ t. pure vanilla extract
- ¼ t. Diamond Crystal kosher salt
For the toppings:
- 3 medium Cara Cara oranges
- 1 ½ c. pitted & halved fresh cherries
- 1 ½ c. chopped fresh pineapple
- ½ c. toasted & chopped pecans
- ½ c. toasted coconut chips
- Make the pavlova: place a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
- Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean (if using) in half lengthwise. Use the back of the knife to scrape out the seeds. Reserve the pod for another use.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites, vinegar, vanilla extract, salt and vanilla seeds. Whip on medium until it is just beginning to look opaque and foamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and whip on medium-high until glossy and the meringue holds stiff peaks, about 12 to 14 minutes (to check, stop the mixer and remove the whip from the head). Swirl the whip in the meringue, lift it out and flip it over (the meringue should hold straight with a tip that curls back onto itself). If it’s not there yet, continue to mix for 30-second intervals, stopping to check in between (if you are using a hand mixer, double all mixing times).
- Use a big spoon to make six mounds of meringue onto the parchment. Use the back of the spoon to create a divot in each mound so it’s like a nest.
- Place in oven and immediately reduce heat to 300°. Bake until the outside feels crisp and dry, is slightly cracked and looks moist inside, about 30 to 40 minutes. Turn off heat, prop open the door with a wooden spoon and allow meringues to cool in oven, about 30 minutes (in an airtight container, meringues will keep for two days at dry room temperature).
- Make the coconut whip: in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine coconut cream, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and salt. Whip on low until slightly thickened, then increase the speed to medium and whip until the mixture holds soft peaks, about 4 to 5 minutes (to check, stop the mixer and lift the whip from the cream—the cream should mound onto itself). If it’s not there yet, continue to mix for 10-second intervals, stopping to check in between (if you are using a hand mixer, double all mixing times). Chill in fridge for up to two days before assembly.
- Prep the fruit: using a sharp knife, trim off the top and bottom of the oranges. Stand oranges upright on cutting board and slice off the rind, moving the blade along the curve of the oranges, taking care to remove all the white pith. Cut between the pith to remove the segments of the oranges, letting the segments fall into a medium bowl.
- Squeeze the remaining orange pith into the bowl to wring out all the juice. Toss with cherries and pineapples (store in fridge for up to 24 hours before serving).
- To serve:place each meringue onto a serving plate. Fill the meringue nests with whipped cream. Evenly divide the fruit, pecans and coconut chips onto each pavlova. Serve right away.
Thanks so much for sharing, Sohla (!). Get to know her, plus more of our favorite food lovers right here