Pavlova with Fresh Strawberries & Whipped Cream
Total Time: 30
Yield: 8 servingsAustralians and New Zealanders have an on going debate about who first created this gorgeous meringue dessert crowned with whipped cream and fresh fruit. You can substitute other berries, kiwi, or mango, but we love it best with strawberries.
For the meringue:
Ingredients:4 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white balsamic or cider vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 300°. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, trace a 9-inch circle in the center (we used a cake pan as our guide), and turn the paper over.
In the clean bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites until frothy. Add salt and continue beating. As soft peaks form, slowly add sugar in a thin stream, beating as you go. Once sugar is incorporated, beat on high speed until firm, shiny peaks begin to form, about 2 more minutes. Stop beating, then gently fold in vanilla, vinegar, and cornstarch with a spatula.
Spoon the meringue into the center of the traced circle and use the back of the spoon to spread it out to the edges, creating a shallow well in the middle. Put into the oven, reduce heat to 250°, and bake 11/2 hours. Turn off the oven, leaving meringue inside until it turns crisp and pale but is still a bit soft inside, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
For the topping:
Ingredients:1 pint (about 12 ounces) fresh strawberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
While meringue bakes, prepare the fruit: Hull and slice or quarter berries (depending on size). Mix gently with sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Set aside.
For the whipped cream:
Ingredients:1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer or whisk until firm peaks form. To serve, carefully peel parchment from meringue and place gently on a large serving platter. Spread whipped cream over meringue. Spoon berries over the top and serve.