Friday, June 28

Berry Pavlova

I come from a meringue-loving family: lemon meringue pie is a holiday favorite, we always had a tub of meringue cookies in the pantry, and the go-to dessert for entertaining was individual meringue cups (often store-bought) filled with whipped cream and berries. Meringue was one of the first things I cooked growing up and I remember being amazed and delighted to see the egg whites puff up and expand in the mixer and getting to lick the leftovers off the beater. The pavlova is the ultimate meringue dessert: crunchy outer/marshmallowy inner meringue cake that's topped with whipped cream, raspberry sauce, and fresh berries. It's a messy, summery dessert that looks super impressive. Add some blueberries and it's the perfect thing to serve on the 4th of July.

Strawberry & Raspberry Pavlova:
  • Whip 4 egg whites* and a pinch of salt with a mixer until frothy, about 2 minutes.
  • Mix together 1 c. sugar and 1/2 tbsp. corn starch and gradually add to egg whites while the mixer is running on high.
  • Continue whipping and add 1 tsp. white vinegar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
  • Continue mixing until stiff peaks forms, about 5-7 minutes.**
  • Spoon meringue onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into an even circle. Smooth the top.
  • Bake in a 250F oven for 75 minutes, or until the outside is dry. Turn off the oven, open the oven door a crack, and leave meringue in until cooled.***
  • Meanwhile, combine 8-10 oz. fresh raspberries and 1 tbsp. sugar**** in a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer and discard the seeds.*****
  • To assemble, top the meringue cake with whipped cream, the raspberry sauce, 1 c. sliced strawberries, and 1 c. raspberries.
  • Cut into wedges and serve.

Serves five-six
*Make sure there are no yolk particles or it won't whip to stiff peaks. Room temperature whites whisk better.
**You can tell that the peaks are stiff when you take out the whisk and the peaks stand straight up without flopping over.
***Meringue can be made a day in advance, cooled completely, and stored in an airtight container.
****You may want more or less sugar depending on how sweet the berries are.
*****Raspberry sauce can be made a day in advance and kept covered in the fridge.