Posted by -Sue
For the July challenge I wanted to come up with something that shouted 'Summer!!". Something cool, light, with lots of fruit. Given my love of meringue - both making and eating - what better dessert than a pavlova.
The national dessert of both New Zealand and Australia, Pavlova is basically a large pillow of meringue covered with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Purists insist kiwi fruit must be in the mix for authenticity, but not everyone agrees. It was named in honor of the great Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova; never having seen her dance, one can only assume she was as light and delicate as her namesake!
The recipe I'm including is from Joy of Baking. If you Google Pavlova, there are lots of other options. Ina Garten has a recipe for pavlova with a raspberry compote that looks yummy. Before you begin, a few tips:
Don't make the pavlova on a muggy day. The moisture in the air will prevent the egg whites from whipping to their peak.
If you're not serving the pavlova immediately, store the meringue in an airtight container (up to 3 days) and top with the cream and fruit just before serving, so that the meringue doesn't become soggy.
All the recipes I saw called for superfine sugar. To make your own, put the sugar in a food processor and pulse until the crystals are half their original size. Easy!
Make sure your bowl and beaters are clean, clean, clean and free of any grease or oil.
4 large egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 TBS. cornstarch
Preheat oven to 250 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch circle on the paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until meringue holds very stiff peaks. Make sure the sugar is dissolved by rubbing a bit of meringue between your fingers - if it feels gritty, keep beating! Sprinle the meringue with the vinegar and cornstarch and fold in with a rubber spatula.
Gently spread the meringue inside the circle on the parchment paper and smooth the edges.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar and let the meringue cool completely in the oven.
1cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Fresh fruit - kiwi, strawberries, peaches, berries, pineapple, etc.
Just before serving, place the meringue on a serving plate. Whip the cream, add sugar and vanilla, and beat until soft peaks form. Mounded the cream in the center of the meringue. Arrange the fruit on top of the cream