Our Towering Low FODMAP Fruit Pavlova is a showstopper of a dessert that will truly thrill each and every person who is lucky enough to partake. My cousin Judith, who does not follow the diet, declared this the “best dessert” she had “ever tasted”. I have a hard time playing favorites, but the combination of crispy, chewy, sweet walnut-studded meringue, layered with lightly sweetened whipped cream, and whiskey soaked strawberries, blackberries, clementines and pomegranate seeds offers various textures, flavors and colors for a truly elegant dessert.
History of Pavlova
We have other pavlovas for you, such as a more traditional Strawberry Pavlova and also a Chocolate Pavlova with Pomegranate, Raspberries & Kiwis. The common denominator is the chewy/crispy meringue and whipped cream.
The history of the dessert dates back to the mid-1920s when Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova toured Australia and New Zealand. Her artistry and beauty made such an impression that a namesake dessert began appearing in restaurants. The original was said to be as light and airy as the dancer’s quality of movement. The meringue was meant to mimic the shape of her tutu, the cream was reminiscent of its lacy frills, and the original fruit used, kiwi, was supposed to represent the green silk roses on her costume.
This Towering Low FODMAP Fruit Pavlova is dramatic, with several layers of meringue in smaller concentric sizes as the tower climbs vertically upwards.
Let’s Talk About Fruit & FODMAPs
Strawberries and clementines contain no FODMAPs, which makes them great fruit to work with in low FODMAP recipes. Pomegranate seeds (arils, if we are being technical) are low FODMAP in 45 g servings, which is about ¼ cup.
I bet you are wondering about the blackberries? If you look them up on the Monash University app you will see that they have a big high FODMAP red light next to them. Clicking into the app entry you learn that 1 small 4 g berry is green light low FODMAP.
If you look them up on the FODMAP Friendly app, the are given a “Pass” at 1 cup or 150 g.
How can that be? Well, first of all, fruit are agricultural products and each batch of berries, grown in its own particular soil, harvested at a certain point in ripeness, will very likely show different results in lab tests. Also, Monash University uses an in-house lab, while FODMAP Friendly uses a third-party lab. Different labs, even if testing the same item, can very often show different results.
What Do FODMAP Levels Mean To You?
How you digest a particular food is what is most important. We have an article that will be of interest to you: What Is A Low FODMAP Serving Size? Please read it for some very important general information.
This is the first recipe that I have developed for FODMAP Everyday where I used blackberries. The reason I did was multifold.
- Even if we are using the more conservative Monash lab findings, you can have 1 berry.
- Cross contamination is not an issue for us in a presentation like this.
- The dark purple color of blackberries was going to accent the orange of the clementines and the red of the strawberries beautifully. Visual aesthetics are important!
How To Chop Walnuts
Walnuts are low FODMAP in amounts of 10 nut halves, which is 30 g. When you chop walnuts, a fair amount of flaky skin separates from the nut meat and it is not a desirable texture. My friend Rose Levy Beranbaum and I have had long discussions about this and leave it to Rose, she even figured out the math. According to her, walnuts will shed off flaky skin in 5% by weight! That is a lot of dry flaky matter that would be incorporated into your chocolate chip cookies or in this case, our Low FODMAP Fruit Pavlova.
So, chop your walnuts, then sift the flaky bits out and discard!
I decided to add the nuts, by the way, to this meringue to provide crunch, but also to temper the sweetness that is inherent in meringue. Coupled with the fresh fruit, that has been macerated in whiskey, the resulting combo is quite elegant.
Let’s Talk About Heavy Cream & FODMAPs
This pavlova is all about the chewy/crunchy meringue, the fresh, juicy fruit and the rich, soft whipped cream. Each of these textural profiles is as important to the dish as the other.
The low FODMAP diet is not a dairy-free diet; it does include foods that are lower in lactose – even if they are made from real dairy, such as heavy cream.
Monash has lab tested whipped cream and it is low FODMAP in amounts of ½ cup (60 g). This is due to the high fat content in cream, which means the carbohydrate and FODMAP content is low.
As such, you can use conventional heavy cream in this recipe and if you stick to the recommended serving size, you will be fine. If you can find lactose-free heavy cream, we suggest using it to further reduce the lactose load.
You can also make your own lactose-free cream, following our recipe in DIY Lactose-Free Dairy.
Ingredients for Low FODMAP Fruit Pavlova
First we have the meringue ingredients: eggs, sugar, vinegar and walnuts. The addition of vinegar creates that part crispy, part chewy texture that is a distinct feature of a pavlova.
Then we have the filling ingredients: heavy cream, sugar, whiskey, strawberries, blackberries, clementines and pomegranate seeds. Note that the recipe does work best with superfine sugar, such as this product from Domino.
How To Make Low FODMAP Fruit Pavlova
You must start with a scrupulously clean equipment, Your bowl, beaters and measuring equipment cannot have any trace of fat or grease or the egg whites will not whip up into the thick, stable meringue that we desire and need. A good wash is fine, but if you want to be doubly sure, wipe everything down with white vinegar.
Using superfine sugar will allow the sugar to dissolve quickly in the meringue. Keep whipping until you have a thick, stiff, gloss meringue as shown below.
Test a little between your fingers. You should NOT feel any grit from the sugar. Keep beating until sugar is dissolved.
Then it’s time to fold in your sifted chopped walnuts.
Once baked, the meringue will puff up a little bit and will have taken on a whiff of color. Let cool completely.
Then, it is all about layering up the sweetened whipped cream and whiskey soaked fruit. Below you can see our fruit soaking in a little bit of whiskey and sugar.
Towering Low FODMAP Fruit Pavlova
Our Towering Low FODMAP Fruit Pavlova is a showstopper of a dessert that will truly thrill each and every person who is lucky enough to partake. It features crispy, chewy, sweet walnut-studded meringue, layered with lightly sweetened whipped cream, and whiskey soaked strawberries, blackberries, clementines and pomegranate seeds for a truly elegant dessert.
- ½ cup (120 ml) whiskey
- ¼ cup (50 g) sugar, divided
- 1 pound (455 g) medium sized strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered (depending on size)
- 3 clementines, peeled and white pith removed
- ¼ cup (44 g) pomegranate seeds
- 7 blackberries, 28 g total
- 3 cups (720 ml) lactose-free heavy cream, chilled
For the Meringue: Position racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 225°F (110°C). Line two half-sheet baking pans with parchment paper. Trace an 8-inch (20 cm) circle, a 7-inch (17 cm), a 6-inch (15 cm), a 5-inch (12 cm) and then also a 4-inch (10 cm) circle between the two pans (use image above to help). Flip papers over.
In a clean, grease-free bowl whip egg whites with balloon whip attachment of stand mixer or use an electric beater on low speed until frothy. Add sugar gradually and beat until meringue is stiff and glossy, which will take several minutes. If you feel it between your fingertips, there should be no grittiness. Beat in vinegar and vanilla, then fold in chopped walnuts.
Scoop meringue onto parchment within all of the circles, except the smallest one, and use the back of a large spoon to help shape flat, round discs; use the drawn circles as a guide for the outer edge. Make a slight depression in the center of the disc. For the smallest circle, which will be the crowing cap of the whole shebang, make it a little more of a 3-D, “kiss” shape (like a chocolate Hershey’s kiss).
Place in oven and bake for 2 hours, then check the meringue discs. They should be crisp, dry and just tinged with a faintest amount of color. Turn off oven and allow disc to cool in oven. Once cooled, discs may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. (You would need a large, wide, flat container, so plan ahead if you want to do this).
For the Toppings: Right before serving (or within 30 minutes) whisk the whiskey and 1 tablespoon of sugar together in the bottom of a large non-reactive bowl. Add the strawberries, clementines, pomegranate seeds and blackberries and fold everything together very gently and allow to stand while you whip the cream.
Whip the cream in a chilled bowl with remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form (or slightly stiffer). Place the largest meringue disc on a flat display platter. Pile some whipped cream in the center of the meringue, allowing an edge of meringue to remain in view (use photos for guidance). Place some of the fruit on top of whipped cream. Top with next smallest meringue disc and repeat with cream, fruit and meringue until you get to the top, placing the smallest “kiss” shaped meringue on the tippy top. Serve soon! If you have room in the fridge, the pavlova can sit for about 1 hour, but not much more. Serving is messy. There is no getting around it! Just dig in with a spoon and a spatula; serve in bowls with spoons for your lucky guests.
Our recipes are based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly science.
- Clementines: Both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested clementines. FODMAP Friendly gives them a “Pass” at 1 medium fruit (86 g). Monash states that no FODMAPs were detected upon lab testing and set a serving size at 1 medium (86 g).
- Eggs: Eggs are high in protein and do not contain carbohydrates, according to Monash University.
- Pomegranate Seeds: More properly called pomegranate arils, they have been lab tested by Monash and are low FODMAP in ¼ cup amounts, which weigh 45 g.
- Strawberries: This popular berry has been lab tested by both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly. Monash lab testing reports that no FODMAPs were detected in strawberries. They suggest 10 medium berries (150 g) as a serving. FODMAP Friendly gives strawberries a “pass” and pegs 10 medium berries at (140 g).
- Sugar: Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested white, granulated sugar. Monash states that a Green Light low FODMAP serving size of white sugar is ¼ cup (50 g). FODMAP Friendly simply states that they have tested 1 tablespoon and that it is low FODMAP. Regular granulated white sugar is sucrose, which is a disaccharide made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Sucrose is broken down and absorbed efficiently in the small intestine.
- Walnuts: Both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested walnuts. FODMAP Friendly gives them a “Pass” at ¼ cup (30 g) portions. Monash lasts the same gram amount as low FODMAP and pegs the volume at 10 walnut halves.
- Whiskey: Monash University has lab tested whiskey and it is low FODMAP Green Light at a 30 ml serving size.
Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.
This pavlova recipe was created for an Oscar party. My cousins throw a fancy party every year and all the food is themed to the Best Picture Nominees. I was asked to make a Trench Cake, in honor of the WW1 movie, 1917. That cake was a very lean affair. On the opposite end of the spectrum, was the sumptuous food scene in Little Women, when the girls and their mother return home to see their own table set with elaborate foods, courtesy of their wealthy neighbor. This Low FODMAP Fruit Pavlova was in honor of that scene.
Below is a bonus pic of the beverage created in honor of The Joker; my cousins call this Joker Gone Wild.
If you want to make it first pour orange juice into a flute, then pour in Grenadine, followed by soda water, poured over the back of a spoon that has been tinted blue. My cousin said she went “a little heavy handed with the dye.” She also wanted all of you to know that, “The Pavlova was my favorite dessert ever ❤️”!
To make this beverage low FODMAP, use freshly squeezed orange juice, which Monash has told us is free of FODMAPs and try cranberry juice instead of the grenadine. Not sure it it will work, but is worth a shot!
An Oscar party is not going to keep us from celebrating with food!