I’m just back from vacation and have jumped right back into the kitchen with an Al Fresco lunch today – some great friends who are into food as much as we are. I wasn’t at all sure what to make for dessert and almost caved in and grabbed a store bought flan as time was running out – but a Pavlova is always a crowd pleaser and easier to make than it looks. It also allows us to make use of the wonderful organic Summer berries that are about to go out of season.
I sometimes make it with assorted berries, which is really pretty, but since I could only find organic raspberries (and all berries really MUST be organic,) I just went with them.
The trick with a good Pavlova is to have the meringue be slightly chewy – I think meringues that are hard and dry are rather unpleasant. The best Pavlovas need to cave in as you cut them and have a good goo-factor. This obviously isn’t for vegans or those of us who are radically anti-white sugar!! I very rarely eat cream and almost never eat white sugar, but a Pavlova is the one and only time that I make an exception.. it’s worth it!
2tsp white wine vinegar
1tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites
8 ounces sugar
10 ounces heavy cream
3 1/2 cups raspberries
Pre-heat oven to 300 F
Cut out a large circle of parchment paper – about the size you expect your Pavlova to be (mine is about 8″ in diameter.) Don’t worry, circle doesn’t have to be perfect and as you can see from mine – it works fine roughly cut. Place it on a baking sheet.
Mix together the cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
While still beating, add the sugar. Using a metal spoon, fold in the cornstarch mixture and then spoon the mixture onto the parchment paper, swirling it into a circle.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour. You can make it ahead of time as the meringue will keep in an airtight container for up to a week. If using right away, make sure it is completely cool, before adding the topping.
Transfer the meringue to a serving dish. Whisk the cream until it just holds it’s shape and spoon onto the meringue base. Add the berries.