FODMAP Friendly Thanksgiving Recipe – Pumpkin Spice Pavlova with Candied Pecans and Pepitas (also Gluten Free)

Pumpkin Spice Pavlova with Candied Pecans and Pepitas - Low FODMAP, Gluten Free and perfect for Thanksgiving

It’s well into pumpkin spice season – almost Thanksgiving now, where does the time go? – and around Halloween I had a hankering for a pav. Problem is, berries are ridiculously expensive in November (in Seattle, obviously not in Melbourne where you lucky ducks are heading into summer). What to do? At first I considered making a jack-o-lantern pavlova but, after I couldn’t find red, yellow or orange food dye at the supermarket (tip – don’t leave that until the day before Halloween next year), I thought about a pumpkin spice pavlova. Who knew, it might be delicious.

As it turns out it, it was delicious (if you like pumpkin pie, PSL’s and pavlova, you’ll love this) but sadly I wasn’t the original genius that I had thought; after writing down my own recipe, I googled it and found out that a few others had beaten me to making this ultimate Ameristralian fusion dessert.

Never mind, my use of pumpkin in the pav instead of the whipped cream (or coconut cream) seems to be original, as was serving it with candied pecans and pepitas. Note – so you don’t end up with a giant mound of cream on one side and not much on the other, be gentle with your pav and don’t rush it! I didn’t realise how poor my cream application was until I cut this slice… Whoops!

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FODMAP Notes

  1. Castor sugar is sucrose, so 1:1 fructose/glucose and safe in moderation. One serve of this pav would be fine for most FODMAPers.
  2. Maple, golden and brown rice syrup are all low FODMAP.
  3. Pumpkin safety depends on the type of pumpkin – I prefer sugar/pie pumpkin, which is safe in 1/4 cup serves – sorbitol can be an issue in larger amounts. Given that the small amount of pumpkin puree is spread between 12-16 serves, this is low FODMAP.
  4. Normal dairy cream can be used if lactose is not an issue, otherwise replace it with lactose free double cream or a low FODMAP vanilla yoghurt.
  5. Coconut Cream is low FODMAP in up to 1/2 cup serves – any more and sorbitol becomes an issue. It is also the dairy free option, for those who do not eat dairy products.
  6. Pecans are low FODMAP in small serves.
  7. Pepitas are low FODMAP in 2 tbsp. serves, as with most seeds.

Pumpkin Spice Pavlova with Candied Pecans and Pepitas

Serves 12-16.

Pumpkin Spice Pavlova

  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar, sieved
  • 2 tsp. corn starch or 1 tsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground all spice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 30 g pumpkin puree

Before you start, make sure your kitchen is not humid. Open a window and do not turn on the dishwasher before you make the batter.

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F (non fan forced) and line two baking trays with baking paper or a silicon mat.

Place the egg whites and pinch of salt in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat slowly for 60 seconds, to loosen the protein, before gradually increasing the speed in increments, until at full speed for 3-4 minutes. Stop when the egg whites are light and fluffy, like a cloud.

Next, gradually pour in the pre-sieved castor sugar in quarters while beating on high, allowing 30 seconds between each pour for the sugar to dissolve properly into the mixture, then continue to beat, on high, for another minute or two. After this, the batter should form stiff peaks when you remove the beater from it. If it does not, continue beating on high for another 2 minutes at a time, or add 1/4 cup pf sugar, then check again.

Once ready, add in the vanilla, pumpkin puree and white wine vinegar, then the corn starch, cream of tartar and beat for another minute to combine. Pile the mixture in two even piles on the lined baking trays and place in the oven and close the door. Don’t open it again until it’s done.

Immediately reduce the heat to 150 C/300 F and bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat further to 100 C / 200 F and bake for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven and let it cool down for 30 minutes.  Your pavlovas are done but they should be allowed to cool completely to room temperature before handling, which should be kept to a minimum. Store them at room temperature, covered with an upside down container to keep them from getting damaged, until you’re ready to assemble them.

Spiced Whipped Cream/Coconut Cream

  • 400 ml double cream to whip, or 3 cups whipped coconut cream (follow these instructions)
  • 1 tbsp. icing dextrose
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground all spice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

Either whip the 400 ml of cream (only use as much as required), or prepare the whipped coconut cream according to the linked instructions. Once almost completely whipped, add in the icing dextrose and spices and whip for another 30 seconds until combined. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the pavlova – don’t make more than 12 hours ahead of time.

Candied Nut Topping

  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup roasted pepitas
  • 1 tbsp. butter or dairy free sub like coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple, golden or brown rice syrup

Melt the butter over a low to medium heat, then add in the nuts and syrup. Increase heat to medium, and keep stirring for 1-2 minutes, until the syrup has reduced by half – the rest will firm up as the mixture cools. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before topping the pavlova. Can be made a day ahead, store in an airtight container.

Assembly

GENTLY lay the first pavlova upside down on a serving dish. Top with half the whipped cream/coconut cream and then cover with the second pavlova, right side up. Top with more whipped cream/coconut cream (don’t feel like you have to use all of it, if it’s not required) and decorate with the candied nut mix.

Refrigeration isn’t best for pavlovas, as it causes the crispy meringue shell to soften, so to avoid this serve within two hours of assembly. If you have to refrigerate it (summer in Australia etc), then it’s not the end of the world, the flavour will stay the same, it’ll just be softer.

Enjoy!

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Miniature Pavlovas – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Miniature Pavlovas - FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Ignore the dietary guidelines that these Pavs suit in the title… these are not  a health food.

I didn’t think it was possible to love a dessert more than I love a good Pav but I found one. I suppose it might not really count, as these are still Pavlovas… but they’re mini, cute and you don’t feel like such a guts after eating one, as I find it easier to have just one of these than to cut a small slice from a big Pav.

Sweet, with a crispy outside and a perfect marshmallowy inside… what more could you want? Whipped cream and fruit on top? Of course you can.

These are perfect for a dinner party or a high tea (I really want to host one of those!), as you can bake them a day ahead and store them (once cooled) in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (aka. the pantry). They will turn a little soft in the fridge (though they still taste amazing) but once the whipped cream has gone on, that’s where they need to be stored.

Notes:

  1. Sucrose (castor sugar) is 1:1 fructose/glucose but if eaten in excess can overwhelm the co-transport method of fructose absorption, so for this reason I would recommend stopping yourself at one mini Pav per day. Which even normal people should do, really.
  2. Normal double cream can be swapped out for lactose free double cream or full fat coconut cream (both of which can be whipped) or lactose free yoghurt.
  3. Two raspberries and 1-2 tbsp. of strawberry sauce would fall within the label of a “single serving” of fruit.

Miniature Pavlovas

Makes approx. 16

  • 4 eggs whites
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp. corn or potato starch
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 300 ml double cream – lactose free if required
  • Fruit of your choice to top

Pre-heat the oven to 150 C/300 F.

In a cool, airy kitchen (no dishwasher running!) beat together the egg whites and salt on a medium speed for 2 minutes, then a high speed for a further 3 minutes, or until satiny peaks form.

Then add in the sugar (in thirds) and beat on a high speed until stiff peaks form. This is important, as you need the batter to hold its shape or it will just pool once you’ve piped it onto the baking tray.

Finally, add in the potato starch, white wine vinegar and vanilla extract and stir on a slow speed for a minute to combine everything.

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Transfer the mixture to a piping bag (or a large zip lock bag with a 1 cm snip off the corner) and pipe about 1/3 cup batter in a swirl onto the baking tray. As Ev said, they will look like Pavlova dog poo – have a laugh and keep going. I spaced mine evenly and had eight mini Pavs per baking tray.

Bake for 50-60 minutes at 150 C/300 F, swapping the bottom/top trays half way through to ensure equal cooking.

Once they have cooled, top with whipped cream and berries and serve with this strawberry sundae sauce or passion fruit pulp drizzled over the top.

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What does an Aussie take to a 4th of July BBQ?

Fourth of July Pavlova

When I was asked to bring dessert to an Independence Day barbeque, I got really excited, because I haven’t made a red, white and blue dessert before. Finally, now was my chance! I searched Pinterest boards and blogs but there were a few things stopping me from whipping up some of those spectacular examples:

  • There’s nothing more American than apple pie, so guess what was popular… apples – yeah, no thanks. I’d like to be functional this weekend.
  • A flag cake – I don’t have a rectangular cake tin and a round flag would look silly.
  • A bundt cake, covered with white icing and filled with strawberries and raspberries – one of my rules is to never experiment when you’re serving it to someone else.

What could I make that was tried and tested, as well as red, white and blue? A Pavlova, of course. I hope Americans forgive me for using an Aussie dessert.

Using my never-fail (famous last words?) Pavlova recipe, I covered it with whipped coconut cream and berries for an Aussie-fied 4th of July dessert offering.

Notes:

  1. Castor sugar is 1:1 fructose and glucose, so is low FODMAP. However, too much of any sugar can set some people off, so watch your portion sizes. If you have SIBO, I would steer clear of this dessert.
  2. I have attempted a glucose/dextrose Pav before and it was a complete flop. I guess the way dextrose crystallises differs too much from sucrose.
  3. Egg whites are low FODMAP; I use 50 g (large) eggs.
  4. You can use either potato starch or corn starch, both are low FODMAP. Corn is a grain, so if you use corn starch it will no longer be grain free.
  5. Vanilla extract is low FODMAP, just beware additives that might change this.
  6. White wine vinegar is low FODMAP in 1 tsp. servings.
  7. Coconut cream is low FODMAP in half cup serving sizes. Refrigeration causes the fat and water content to separate, giving you an even richer, creamier and more whippable topping.
  8. Strawberries and blueberries are low FODMAP fruits.

Pavlova

Pavlova

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp. corn starch or 1 tsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. white or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Toppings

  • 400 ml of full cream coconut, refrigerated
  • Red and blue berries, to top. I used strawberries and blueberries.

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Let your eggs sit for 30 minutes at room temp to take the chill off, unless you’re working in a warmer environment, in which case I find colder eggs hold stiff peaks better. Separate the egg whites and yolks, store the yolks for use at another time. Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F.

Beat the egg whites and pinch of salt on a low-medium speed for 1 minute, then on a high speed for 3-4 minutes, until they are fluffy. While maintaining a med-high speed, slowly add in the castor sugar until it’s combined, then turn the speed up to maximum for a further minute.

Lift the beaters out of the batter – does the peak formed retain its shape? If yes, add in the starch, white wine vinegar and vanilla extract and mix through on a medium speed for 30 seconds.

Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet covered with baking paper, so that it forms a circle with a 20 cm diameter.

Place it into the oven on the bottom tray and turn the heat down to 150 C/300 F. Bake for 30 minutes, before turning the heat down to 120 C/250 F and baking for a further 45 minutes. Alternatively, if you don’t want to play around with temperatures, you could bake it at 120 C/250 F for 2 hours. When the time is up, let it cool for 15 minutes with the oven door cracked open, before removing it to the bench. I was in a hurry and took mine out too soon, so it cracked and collapsed a little. No worries, though, as we’re covering it with whipped coconut cream, so no one will be the wiser… unless they read this.

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I used Oh She Glows’ instructions on whipping coconut cream. I’ll let you head over there to view her step-by-step photo tutorial but I have to tell you that you need to refrigerate the tin overnight (this is important, as I have done this with a tin refrigerated for only 4 hours and it hadn’t separated enough).

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Smother the Pav with whipped coconut cream (or normal whipped cream) and top with blueberries and strawberries (or other blue and red berries) for a patriotic looking 4th of July dessert that is crispy on the outside and marshmallowy soft on the inside.

Now to wait until after dinner to devour it. *Twiddles thumbs.*

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Pavlova – Low FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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A Pavlova is a variation of a meringue, in which the outer shell is crisp and crunchy and the inner core is like marshmallow – light, soft and chewy. It is traditionally covered in whipped cream and decorated with fruits and maybe some shredded chocolate… which reminds me, I should put Flake on my shopping list for when we go home next.

Aussies and New Zealanders have a fierce argument going on about where exactly the Pavlova originated. All we know for sure is that it was named in honour of the ballerina, Anna Pavlova – apparently it was light and airy, just like her dancing. The Wikipedia page purports that “formal research” suggests the Pavlova hails from New Zealand… but considering this was published by the University of Otago –  in New Zealand! –  I doubt how unbiased it truly is. Being Australian, I of course take our own side. The “Pav” is ours!

My Gran was always the Pavlova-maker of our family. For every occasion, she’d make a Pav… until about 10 years ago when she got a new oven and swore it couldn’t make them like her old oven. It was one of the first things she taught me to bake, after cornflakes cookies. I always think of her when I make one, and how she would scold me for leaving the little white lump in the egg whites. She loved her old wive’s tales.

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One of Mum’s Pavlovas: strawberries, raspberries and “Flake” chocolate topping

If you are sensitive to table sugar, then the Pavlova is probably going to cause some sort of reaction. If you are diabetic, then stay away! The main ingredient is sugar. This is definitely a “sometimes” food, in all meanings of the word; desserts like this shouldn’t be eaten every night, or you’ll end up like the side of a house.

For FMers, reducing your daily fructose load can be done by limiting your sucrose (table sugar) intake, even though sucrose is 1:1 fructose/glucose, which technically assists with fructose absorption but is seems that if you gorge on sucrose the glucose co-transport system will eventually be overwhelmed and symptoms will ensue. If you’re worried, just make sure you really cut back on fructose before eating a slice of this beauty. I can get away with a slice of Pavlova (okay, sometimes two) and not react.

Pavlova:

  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature*
  • 1 pich table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp. corn starch or 1 tsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 300 ml/half pint of double/heavy whipping cream
  • Fruits of your choice

*The rule of thumb with Pavlovas is to use eggs left to come to room temperature over night. However, when I do this, my batter doesn’t form a stiff enough peak and I end up having to add extra sugar. I find the best thing is to leave the egg whites out of the fridge for 20 minutes to take the chill off but still leave enough of the cool in there to help the peaks maintain their shape.

Before you start – you can’t make a Pav in an overly warm or a humid environment. The peaks wont stay formed. Don’t use your dishwasher beforehand and don’t have the heater on! A nice, breezy kitchen is best. But isn’t it always?

Preheat your non fan-forced oven to 180 C/350 F.

Beat the salt and egg whites at high speed for about 5 minutes – this allows satiny peaks to form. The more air in your batter, the stiffer the peaks.

Gradually add the sugar, in two or three bouts, and continue to beat on high until stiff, shiny peaks form. Ensure that the sugar is thoroughly mixed through and not coating the base of your mixing bowl. Scrape it in with a spatula and re-mix if this happens.

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To test if you have stiff peaks, raise the beater out of the batter and see if the resultant peak stays upright. If it sinks back into the mixture, keep beating until it doesn’t. If you are very confident of your peaks, the “gold standard” test is to hold your mixing bowl upside-down and see if the mixture stays inside (which it should!)… but this takes some guts. It’s a fun trick to scare Pavlova newbies with, though.

Sometimes you might need to add a little extra sugar to help the peaks form properly – however, do this sparingly as too much sugar will not be able to combine with the egg whites and will make for a “syrupy” Pavlova that will stick to baking paper and be brittle.

Once you have stiff peaks, sprinkle over the corn starch, white wine vinegar and vanilla extract and beat in on a slow speed.

Heap the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place it in the middle shelf of your oven and immediately lower the temperature to 150 C/300 F. Set the timer for 30 minutes. Next, lower the temperature further to 120 C/250 F and set the timer for a further 45 minutes.

Uncooked Pavlova

Uncooked Pavlova

If your Pavlova develops beads of moisture on its surface, that means it is over-cooking. It isn’t a failure, though. It might just end up a little extra crunchy in the middle. Reduce the temperature a little for the remainder of the cooking time if you see this happen, to try and prevent excessive dryness in the centre.

When it is done, turn off your oven and let the Pavlova cool in there with the door closed.

To serve, place on a cake stand/plate. Cover it with whipped cream and decorate with fruit. “Favourable” fruits, of course. For a slightly richer cream, add some vanilla extract before you whip it. And get creative with the decorations! You can lay out fresh fruit in patterns or serve it with a fruit compote.

Pavlova

Mum and I made this one last Easter when we went home to visit: raspberries and passion fruit, with a “crown” edge to the Pavlova. To achieve this look, you use a spatula to wipe up the edges before baking. This is also a two layered Pavlova with whipped cream in the centre.

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A simple strawberry design can still look good and is quick to do

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Kiwi fruit slices and passion fruit pulp – delicious

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Canned passion fruit pulp… shipped all the way from Australia! Passion fruit is impossible to find in the PNW.

Enjoy!You can’t get more traditional than passion fruit.