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Love holiday feasts but tired of your guests saying that they just don’t have room to eat that fancy dessert that you’ve slaved over?

Consider trying a Pavlova.

The dessert surrounds fruit with puffy meringue for a colorful display that can be adapted according to your tastes or the types of fruit available.

The dessert was created in the mid-1930s in honor of Anna Pavlova, the magnificent Russian prima ballerina, who was born in 1881 in Russia and became a worldwide sensation.

Pavlova is often served at kids’ birthdays in New Zealand, with the native kiwi used as the main fruit.

And the recipe does have special kid appeal with its color and use of whipped cream. It especially may appeal to youngsters who aren’t fans of pie crusts. You could even get the kids involved with dressing up the dish even more with whipped cream placed in dollops atop the fruit and chocolate shavings added.

 

You could use Christmas balls or other holiday-appropriate items to surround the Pavlova on the tray.

The Associated Press provided the following recipe for a Pavlova with chocolate meringue and berries. I’ve also seen a mixture of sliced fresh fruits used along with seedless green grapes or even cantaloupe balls.

Here’s AP’s recipe:

 Pavlova is the berries

By J.M. HIRSCH

Associated Press 

In Chocolate Berry Pavlova, stunning chocolate meringue piled high with whipped cream and fresh berries looks over the top, but the airy dessert won’t weigh you down.

For a plain meringue, simply leave out the cocoa powder.

 CHOCOLATE BERRY PAVLOVA 

Start to finish: 3 hours 15 minutes (45 minutes active)

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

6 egg whites

Pinch of salt

1-1/4 cups superfine white sugar

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

3 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons powdered sugar

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2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups assorted fresh berries (if large, sliced)

Fresh mint leaves, to garnish (optional) 

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high until they form soft peaks, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly sprinkle in the sugar and beat until the eggs form stiff peaks.

With the mixer on low, add the vinegar and almond extract. With the mixer still running, sprinkle in the cornstarch mixture and beat until just incorporated.

Carefully spoon the mixture onto the center of the prepared baking sheet, using a rubber spatula to gently spread it into about a 12-inch circle (about 2 inches thick) with a slight dip at the center. The mixture should resemble a thick, hallow bowl.

Bake for 1-1/2 hours, then turn off the oven and allow the meringue to cool for 1 hour in the oven.

Once the meringue has cooled and just before serving, make the whipped cream. In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Use an electric mixer to beat until very thick.

To assemble the pavlova, carefully remove the meringue from the parchment paper and place on a large serving tray or platter. Mound the whipped cream in the center, then top with fresh berries. If desired, garnish with fresh mint leaves.

To serve, use a serrated knife to cut the pavlova into wedges.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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