I made this beauty to serve at our 4th of July party. Originating in New Zealand, Pavlova is a meringue dessert topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. It’s a impressive dessert, but once you have the hang of the technique used to make meringues, it couldn’t be easier. I used fresh blueberries and strawberries to make my version patriotic, but you can use whatever fruit is in season in your area.
8 large egg whites – brought to room temperature
1 cup superfine sugar
3 teaspoons lemon juice
3 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pint heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
1 cup strawberries, quartered
1 cup blueberries
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F. Whisk egg whites in a big, clean bowl (with an electric hand mixer with whisk attachment) until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar to egg whites, one tablespoon at a time, SLOWLY, until fully incorporated and the mixture is stiff and glossy.
Note: You will be adding the sugar at such a slow pace that you may feel like you will die before you’re finished, but do not rush this part – if you rush you will end up deflating the egg whites and your meringue will be ruined.
Add vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla and whisk until thoroughly mixed. On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, shape pavlova mixture into a round shape and flatten the top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn down heat to 250 degrees F and bake for an hour. Turn oven off, and leave to cool overnight without opening the oven door. Remove pavlova from the oven the next morning, and keep in an airtight container until ready to use. Remove baking paper from bottom of pavlova and carefully put it on a serving dish. Cover with freshly whipped cream and arrange berries on top of the whipped cream.
Slice and serve immediately! (the cream and fruit will make the meringue base soggy over time)