Festive recipe: The perfect Christmas pavlova by Brix's kitchen maestro

Exquisite pastry chef Carmen Rueda Hernandez shares a firm family favourite from her childhood

Garnish your pavlova with edible decor such as raspberries, blueberries, basil leaves, chocolate pieces and dehydrated roses. Photo: Brix
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The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a desire to make and feast on delicious and traditional treats that at once tantalise the taste buds and fill one with a sense of nostalgia.

In this series of seasonal dishes, we ask chefs from some of the UAE's top restaurants to share their favourite festive recipes.

Pavlova from Brix

Carmen Rueda Hernandez is a Spanish culinary science graduate and chocolatier who perfected her dessert-making knowledge and techniques all over the world, from the UK and Singapore to South Africa, before becoming the head pastry chef at Brix and 3Fils.

Of the pavlova recipe she shares with The National, Hernandez says: “Every Christmas since I was a kid, we set up the kitchen to make pavlovas for the family. It's a personal favourite because it's easy to make, versatile and delicious. It can go with any flavour and toppings, such as berries, fruits, nuts and different creams and chocolate or vanilla ganache, and you can also add ice cream on top. I associate this with good memories, because it makes me happy to make and eat.”

Christmas pavlova

Serves four

Ingredients and method for the dry meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 140g sugar
  • 30g rice flour
  • 120g icing sugar
  • 10ml lime juice
  1. In a bowl, place the egg whites and start whisking.
  2. Add the sugar in small batches to make a strong meringue. Add the rice flour and whisk until just combined.
  3. Once the meringue is ready, fold in the icing sugar and the lime juice.
  4. Place in a piping bag with a round nozzle and pipe 2 round moulds.
  5. Place in the oven at 100ºC for two hours until it dries completely.
  6. Once it cools down, level with a microplane and reserve.

Ingredients and method for the almond streusel

  • 100g flour
  • 1g nutmeg powder
  • 130g almond powder
  • 2g Maldon sea salt
  • 80g brown sugar
  • 100g butter
  1. Sift the flour, nutmeg powder and almond powder. Add in the Maldon sea salt and keep aside.
  2. Lightly cream the butter and sugar until mixed together, then add in the dry ingredients and mix until a stable dough is formed.
  3. Cover with cling film and rest for an hour, then freeze.
  4. Grate the streusel with the box grater, and spread thin on to a silpat. Make it even with the help of a rolling pin. Bake at 165ºC for 12 minutes.

Ingredients and method for the vanilla cream

  • 96g + 480g cream
  • 96g sugar
  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 10g gelatin
  • 288g mascarpone
  1. Place 96g of cream, sugar and the vanilla pods in a pan, and bring to a boil.
  2. Soak the gelatin in ice cold water.
  3. Semi-whip the 480g cream.
  4. When the cream in the pan is hot, add in the pre-soaked gelatin.
  5. Whisk in the mascarpone, then fold in the semi-whipped cream.

Ingredients and method for the strawberry raspberry jam

  • 250g strawberry puree
  • 250g raspberry puree
  • 70g white sugar
  • 10g yellow pectin
  1. In a pot, place half the purees and bring to a boil.
  2. Mix the sugar and pectin together in a bowl.
  3. Once the purees come to a boil, add in the sugar pectin mixture and cook well until it comes to a boil.
  4. Add the remainder of the puree and mix well.
  5. Cool down and reserve.

To plate

  1. Once fully cooled, take the almond streusel base and pipe one layer of vanilla cream on top, followed by a thin layer of strawberry raspberry jam using a piping bag.
  2. Next, add the cooled, dry meringue on top before adding an additional layer of piped vanilla cream. To finish the pavlova, dress the top with a selection of garnish to your liking. On ours we have used raspberries, blueberries, kumquats, basil leaves, crispy chocolate pieces and dehydrated rose.

Scroll through the gallery to see some foods traditionally enjoyed over the festive season

Updated: December 23, 2022, 4:03 AM