DIVINE Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova!

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova

Hands up who loves pavlova! How about cheesecake? This is a recipe for you! It's a pretty pink pavlova with a luscious marshmallowy centre with a vanilla speckled, light cheesecake cream on top and fresh strawberries and pomegranates! This recipe is pure ambrosia and I called her Jolie.

I've been wanting to make this cheesecake pavlova for a long time as it came to me in a day dream. I wanted to make a combination of two of my favourite desserts: cheesecake and pavlova.

Pavlova vs Meringue: While both start with the same mixture made with egg whites and sugar, pavlova has a hard outer but marshmallowy, soft centre while meringue is hard and crunchy throughout. I love both but prefer pavlova for that cushiony soft filling. Pavlova lasts for 3 days and should be kept in the fridge while meringues can last for a month or two in an airtight container at room temperature (sometimes even longer).

Tips for making pale pink and coloured pavlovas: use colouring gels rather then liquid colours because they can affect the texture of the meringue. For a pale pink meringue use colour sparingly and build it up if you need to. I only used a tiny bit of Rose edible gel as you want only the slightest pink blush. Also make sure to bake your pavlova at 100C/212F as higher temperatures can brown your pavlova which discolours the pale pink.

Tips to make the cheesecake foam: make sure that you don't over whip the cream. Whip it until soft peaks and then add the cream cheese and stop whipping as soon as it's combined - only a few seconds is needed. If you whip it for too long, the whey will separate out of the cream and it will start becoming butter.

Other Not Quite Nigella pavlova recipes: Classic Pavlova, Splice Pavlova, Pavlova Grazing Platter, Brown Sugar Pavlova with Bananas Flambé & Vanilla Rum Syrup, Iced Vovo Pavlova, Golden Gaytime Pavlova, Black Forest Pavlova, Surprise Mini Pavlovas, Christmas Tree Pavlova, Square Pavlova, Triple Layer Mango & Passionfruit Pavlova, Fig Pavlova With Salted Maple Browned Butterscotch Sauce, Key Lime Pavlova Pie, Lamington Pavlova, Spring time Pavlova and a pavlova shaped like Australia!

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova

Although pavlovas can be intimidating I've made so many that it seems like routine and making a pavlova is actually a calming experience for me although I assure you that it wasn't the first few times I made them. But as long as you follow this recipe to the letter I promise you will enjoy making pavlovas (which leads to enjoying eating pavlovas). And if you want some extra pavlova making tips have a peek at this recipe.

I was recently sent into a bit of a spin and it was all because of Mr NQN. One of his former employees was getting married and we were invited to the wedding. I hadn't met him or the bride to be so I asked Mr NQN a bit about them. He told me that he was a young guy and religion was a big part of his life. Both the wedding ceremony and reception was being held at a hotel in the Southern Highlands and the dress code was formal. I had the perfect dress - a long, flowy shimmery gold silk dress that was just about the most gorgeous dress I own. I was very excited to wear it.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova

On Thursday morning two days before the wedding he woke up and turned to me and said, "You can't wear gold to a wedding."

"Um what? Says who?" I said groggily. I am not pleasant in the morning and am less pleasant when I am woken with statements like this.

"I googled it," he said.

I started to panic. I had never heard of this no gold at weddings policy. I knew that white was obviously out and black was a rule that people played fast and loose with...but gold? WHAT?? I also only had one other formal dress and it was a dark velvet dress with a plunging neckline and that would be less appropriate for a wedding with religious overtones.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova

I messaged some friends. Laura has been to dozens of weddings and she had never about it. Neither had any of the colleagues in the office, nor had Monica and Ivy. I was befuddled and bewildered. I wasn't sure if it was Mr NQN and his love of following the rules or whether my reaction was my loathing of following rules. On top of everything it was a highly stressful time with a lot of work going on and people wanting things left, right and centre and everything was going wrong. Over lunch with Monica that Thursday I was on the verge. I didn't want to offend people but the wedding was in 1.5 days and I was also cross with Mr NQN for even looking it up and making it as a throwaway comment and not realising that that sort of thing really creates a lot of problems. Formal means floor length and I am 150cms tall so everything has to be taken up so I can't just grab a formal dress off the rack. I also think that he was starting to regret bringing it up.

The next day, the day before the wedding, Monica asked, "How did it go with the dress?".

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova

"So I bought a new dress haha" I answered, "That's his fee for stressing me out." I figured out that the least that after all of this I could have at least get a new dress out of it. Problem solved, but not without some hand wringing and drama but it seems like weddings are drama filled events, even for guests. It was a pink dress no less, so no debate about the colour and to me, it looked more like a dress a bridesmaid might wear but I didn't want to even bring up that point!

So tell me Dear Reader, do you like pavlova? How about cheesecake? And have you ever heard of the "no gold" at weddings dress policy?

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 2.5 hours

Serves: 8

  • 200g/7ozs egg whites (about 5-6 egg whites depending on the size of eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pink colouring (I used Wilton Rose)
  • 1.5 cups/315g caster or superfine sugar

For Cheesecake Cream

  • 1 cup/250ml/8.8flozs cream

  • 1 tablespoon caster or superfine sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

  • 60g/2ozs cream cheese, room temperature

  • Fat pinch of salt

To serve:

  • 150g/5ozs fresh strawberries, halved or quartered
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova

Step 1 - Pavlova is best made the day or night before (I do all my pavlova baking after dinner, I'm weird like that). Line a baking tray with parchment and trace a 13cm/5inch circle which seems small but the pavlova will spread around an inch. Preheat oven to 100C/212F. Make sure that your mixer bowl and beaters are very clean (give it another wash with hot water and detergent and dry if need be). Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Start whisking until soft peaks form. Then add the cornflour, vanilla and colouring and then the sugar in a steady stream and whisk until it is very firm and glossy and you can tip the bowl upside down without the meringue moving at all. This is very important as this is a high pavlova. If the meringue does move when you tip the bowl upside down, you won't be able to achieve this shape.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova
Shape from this..

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova
To this

Step 2 - Scoop the meringue onto the parchment within the circle and shape up to form a high circle and use an angled spatula to create the pavlova shape. Don't rush this step. First get the sides smooth and then use the spatula at a slight angle to make the sweep-up motions. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 2.5 hours. If you want your pavlova harder and more like a meringue, you can bake it for 3 hours (or even conceivably longer) but we love the marshmallowy centre. Cool the pavlova in the turned off oven overnight.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova

Step 3 - To make cheesecake cream, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add in the cream cheese and salt and whip until you get a dollopy cream texture-it will only take a few seconds. Carefully transfer the pavlova onto a serving plate and add cream on top. Then add strawberries and pomegranate arils and serve.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova

Strawberry Cheesecake Pavlova

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