Light, sweet, soft crunch that dissolves on your tongue... Pavlovas! Four basic ingredients that make an elegant treat! I have to admit, before this blog I have never made these before because I was super intimidated by them. Pavlovas have four basic ingredients in them, ingredients that I work with on a daily basis, however whipping egg whites without deflation scares me. I reached out to a pastry chef in Denver who graduated culinary school with me, Chloe Coman. She has perfected pavlovas in altitude, so they should work in Chicago.
Before I get tot he recipe for the pavlovas, I wanted to share what a bad ass chef Chloe has become. Now is the time to follow her career because she is going far!
In her words...
How it started:
I always grew up baking with my dad and it was a great bonding experience.
He worked a lot, so getting to spend late nights and weekends inventing
recipes together created some of my favorite memories. I fell in love with
math and science in school, which paired perfectly with my passion for
pastry since baking is an exact science.
If you could do anything differently to get to this point in your career… what
would you do?
Nothing! I’m truly grateful for all of the experiences I have had to get to this
point, the good and the bad.
What challenges have you faced in this line of work?
Employees, pay, no money, lack of support, previous asshole boss, schooling, no schooling…
This industry definitely has its challenges. During my internship in school, I
had a very eye-opening experience into how harsh working in a kitchen can
be. My boss was verbally abusive to me on a daily basis, and told me
repeatedly that I would never succeed as a pastry chef. My first job after
graduating from the Culinary Institute of America was demanding and
required relentless long hours. At this time, I was still a full-time student
completing my bachelor’s degree and I got an average of 4 hours of sleep a
night for 2 years. I was taken advantage of in that position and not paid
appropriately for the work I was doing as a General Manager, Decorator, and
Pastry Chef. Working professionally for over 3 years now, I have had my fair
share of difficult employees as well. The kitchen can be a high-stress
environment, and I’ve seen a lot of people come through not prepared for
that. I tell all of my employees and interns that they need to find pure joy in
the desserts they produce, otherwise this industry is not worth it.
Why do you continue to do what you do? What drives you?
It fills my heart with joy to see the look on a client’s face when they see their
cake for the first time. Whether it’s a wedding cake, baby shower dessert
display, or custom royal icing cookies, I bake for the pure joy of it. I got into
this industry to make people happy. Desserts are used as gifts, favors, gender
reveals, and so much more, that I enjoy being a small piece that makes these
How did this particular recipe come to fruition?
Funny story, happy accident, and oh shit moment
This was one of the first catering desserts I made as a pastry chef in Denver
at Yours Truly Cupcake. I was fascinated by the uniqueness of the dessert and
how we presented it in such a non-traditional fashion. I have always loved
the decorating aspect of pastry, and this was such a beautiful way to present
a dessert at a catered event. I love getting to make things that are not only
delicious, but beautiful as well.
Follow Chloe Coman
3047 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
Above: Chloe's gorgeous creation of pavlovas... mine are not so pretty but still yummy!
Yield: Small/mini~45-50, Medium~30, Large~20-25
6 egg whites
1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Food coloring if desired (I didn't use food coloring... because I didn't have any)
1. Whip egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks form (using a stand or hand mixer is best... in my move to Chicago I lost the whisk to my Kitchen-Aid. I did it by hand which made me sweat and hurt my weak arm, but still worked!)
2. Gradually pour in granulated sugar
3. Mix for about 10 more minutes on high until glossy, stiff peaks form (you may also add in a couple of drops of food coloring if desired, just don’t go for a deep color, it will mess with the integrity of the meringue if too much extra liquid is added)
4. Fold in vanilla extract and corn starch by hand. Be sure not to knock out the air in your
egg whites as you fold, this will cause your pavlovas to fall in the oven. The stiff peaks in
the meringue allow for the soft, pillowy texture of the pavlova.
5. On parchment paper, pipe with a star tip into desired nest shape (for minis it’s about a 2” circle) (can use spoon to hollow center if needed) You want enough space in the nest
that you will fill with cream and fruit once it’s baked. Be sure to either spray your paper down, or I like to put a little bit of extra meringue under the corner on the parchment
paper to keep the paper in place in the oven.
6. Bake at 225 F for 1 hour and 15 minutes - DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE
BAKING!!! This will cause them to deflate
7. Turn off oven and leave door shut for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
At this point, you can see how basic mine are compared to Chloe's beautiful cloud balls. For me, it was a matter of successfully finishing a pavlova without it being flat!
The pavlovas are cracked in the middle and served with sliced seasonal fruits, chocolate and lemon zest.