- Pavlova with Mixed Summer Berries
- Meringue can be kind of tricky and can crack and not be perfect, but it tastes good. You could also pipe the egg whites onto parchment paper and make cookies, or individual Pavlova's. Some tips for making meringue are to have your egg whites at room temperature with no traces of yolk. Use a very clean stainless steel bowl with no traces of oil. Use superfine sugar or put granulated sugar in the food processor and break it down a little bit so it melts easily into the egg whites. Adding cornstarch to the sugar can help stabilize the whites, and adding the vanilla and vinegar at the end also helps to stabilize the whites. Cooking at a low temperature allows the whites to cook slowly and turning the oven off after an hour and just leaving the meringue in the oven to cool also helps ensure that it is cooked through and crispy.
- Serves 10
- 4 large (120 grams) egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup (200 grams) superfine or granulated sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot powder
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Whipped Cream:
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup powdered sugar (depends on how sweet you like your cream)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups of mixed berries or any combination of stone fruit and berries (reserve some for decoration)
- fresh mint to garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 225° degrees and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw an 8-inch circle on the paper and turn parchment paper over and place on baking sheet.
Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl. Pour the vanilla and vinegar into a small cup.
In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkle the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar. Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 4 to 5 minutes.
In a piping bag with a rose tip, pipe the meringue in a spiral circle to make a base. Pipe rosettes on top of the outer edge all around the circle to make sides for the meringue and if there is any left over, just put it in the center and smooth it. You can also gently spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges. Make a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Check on meringue at least once during the baking time. If it appears to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around. After 1 hour and 15 minutes, turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar with a wooden spoon, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven.
Fruit: You can use any combination of fruit you want. Slice strawberries, peaches or other stone fruit before placing all the fruit in a bowl and sprinkling with 1/4 - 1/3 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet you like your fruit). I like to save some fruit for the decoration on the top. Mix gently and allow to sit for at least 2 hours so the sugar melts and the fruit releases some juice.
To assemble: Just before you serve the Pavlova, place meringue on serving platter and put the whipped cream in the center. Add the berries on top of the cream and decorate with the reserved fruit and some fresh mint.
You can make the meringue the day before and store it in a tin but do not make the Pavlova ahead of time or the meringue will get soggy.