This lovely dessert is my final ode to our trip and England. Not that it is really considered an English dish, I believe the Russians and Aussies are still arguing over who invented it, but the Pavlova is a sweet that is served up a lot in England and it was the dessert I had most often while I was living there.
The combination of the crunchy outside of the meringue, soft light-as-air marshmallow like inside, whipped cream topping and fresh berries makes the Pavlova a little slice of heaven.
I use less sugar in my version of this recipe and I don’t mess with the fruit too much as I think it is the contrast of the slightly tart but sweet berries that gives balance to this dessert, however, I always use organic berries, my favorite being Driscoll’s organic berries.
|Pavlova with Fresh Berries|
- 4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ cup sugar for the meringue
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons sugar for the whipped cream
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 ½ pints of assorted berries (I used Driscoll's organic strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar for the fruit (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side.
- Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or use a handheld electric mixer.
- Beat the egg whites on high speed for 1-2 minutes until firm. Slowly add in the sugar while continuing to whip until the mixture is firm with shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
- Sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a spoon or spatula.
- Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
- While the meringue is cooling, prepare the whipped cream by placing the cold cream in a bowl and whipping it with an electric mixer until it is thickened. Add the sugar and almond extract and continue to whip just until it holds peaks but don’t over-whip or it will curdle.
- Carefully remove the meringue from the parchment and place on a serving plate.
- Just before serving, very gently spread the whipped cream on the top of the meringue.
- Combine the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss with a little sugar if desired and then pile the fruit on top of the whipped cream. Serve immediately.