Throw a Stunning Christmas Brunch
Did you know? The light, sensual pavlova is named after the Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova (1881-1931), who toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The exact origin of the dessert has long been under debate.
Just like Anna Pavlova had a starring role on the ballet stage, this “pav,” as it’s called in Australia and New Zealand, has a starring role on this Christmas brunch table. The easiest way to add color to a table is with the food, and this wreath-shaped pavlova is both festive and colorful. The food is as much a part of the brunch setting as everything else on the holiday table.
Brunch Table Setting
When I set my brunch table I always use time-honored pieces that were passed down to me by my mom and grandmothers. The damask tablecloth rests perfectly beneath my antique Limoges dishes. I wanted the Christmas tree napkins to have a starring role, so I placed one in the center of each plate. Simple, unadorned silver-plate flatware, mixed with luminescent mother-of-pearl-handled forks, mingles well with the delicate pink palette. My grandmother’s clear Edwardian water glasses and pink Depression glass goblets are visual accents that have a big impact. For the finishing touch, I added splashes of color with fresh flowers. With the brunch table set, it’s time to sit down and enjoy each other’s company.
Holiday Wreath Pavlova
The light and elegant pavlova, presented on a pedestal cake stand, has a crisp and crunchy meringue-like outer shell with a soft, moist marshmallow-like center. Pavs are traditionally topped with whipped cream and soft fruit such as kiwis, passion fruit and berries. (Remember, Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is in the middle of summer.)
To make a wreath-shaped pavlova, first measure your serving plate to determine the size. My pedestal cake plate is 9 inches in diameter, so I used a marker to trace an 8-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper. I traced a smaller circle on the inside to make a wreath design. I then flipped the paper over and placed it on a baking sheet pan, making sure the design was visible. I spread the meringue, made using a recipe I found on the Internet, onto the parchment with a cake spatula (you could also use a wooden spoon) and made a small well in the center to hold the whipped cream. Just before serving, I topped the cooled meringue with whipped cream and garnished with a combination of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries with mint leaf accents.