This dreamy dessert, which was named in honor of a famous Russian ballerina, is about the closest you will ever get to eating a cloud. The meringue base can be made in advance. To serve it, drizzle the strawberries with a little balsamic vinegar and vanilla – a combination that brings out the fullest essential flavor of the fruit – whip some cream and arrange it all on a plate. It’s magnificent.
PavlovaCourse: DessertDifficulty: Medium
This dreamy dessert is about the closest you will ever get to eating a cloud.
- For the meringue
5 egg whites
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
1 teaspoon high-quality
3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vinegar (white wine, cider, or distilled)
- For the whipped cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
A tablespoon or two of confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon high-quality vanilla extract
- For the topping
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
1/2 teaspoon high-quality vanilla extract
1 teaspoon high-quality balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons superfine sugar
- To prepare the meringue: preheat oven to 275F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and trace a 6-inch circle on the paper using a cake pan or a bowl as a guide. Flip the parchment over so the pencil marking is facing down (this ensures that the pencil won’t transfer to the meringue). In a large, clean bowl, combine egg whites, salt and cream of tartar. Begin beating at low speed, slowly increasing to medium-high, until floppy, satiny peaks begin to form, about 3 minutes. Then turn down your mixer to medium-low speed and drizzle in the water. Gradually beat in sugar a tablespoon at a time. This may take a minute or so. Turn the speed to high and whip until very stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in cornstarch, vanilla and vinegar, and fold in gently.
- Mound the egg foam onto parchment within circle. Using a metal spatula, shape the mound into a disk, flattening the top, then swipe grooves in the foam, creating curls at the top. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the pavlova turns a very pale tan color. Turn off heat (don’t open the door), and allow meringue to cool completely in oven, at least 3 hours.
- To prepare the topping: in a mixing bowl, combine strawberries, vanilla, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.
- To serve, carefully peel off parchment and place meringue on a platter or cake stand. Gently crack the top with the back of a soup spoon to make a shallow nest for the whipped cream and berries. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract, and whip until cream is thick enough to hold peaks, then spoon it over meringue. Cover cream with strawberries, allowing a small amount of their liquid to dribble onto cream. Serve immediately.