Have you ever heard of this?! It's amazing, and I don't know how I've missed it. I stumbled upon this Australian holiday dessert while reading a book about France (the author is an Aussie), and I couldn't wait to try it. So simple - meringue shell, covered with whipped cream, topped with fresh fruit. It's light and beautiful and delicious - perfect for spring, and berry season. We used strawberries and blueberries, and mangos. What a rich, delicious container for regional fruit!
I got the recipe from AllRecipes, and just tweaked it a little:
3 egg whites
a pinch of salt
1 cup white sugar (I reduced this to 3/4 cup in keeping with proportions used for other meringue recipes; it was still plenty sweet)
1 tablespoon corstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice (we didn't have lemons so used a capful of rice vinegar - other recipes called for vinegar; it worked fine)
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced (or any fresh fruit)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Draw a 9 inch circle on the parchment. An easy way to do this is to draw around the outside of a 9 inch pan with a pencil.
- In a large bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar gradually, while continuing to whip. Make sure sugar is completely dissolved. Mix together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the cornstarch; lightly fold into meringue with lemon juice.
- Spread a layer of meringue to fit circle on parchment, approximately 1/4 inch thick. With remainder of mixture, pipe or spoon swirls around the edges to form a shallow bowl shape.
- Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 1 hour. Turn off oven, but leave meringue in oven for an additional 30 minutes. When cool, the meringue should be hard on the outside, and slightly moist on the inside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cream and half a cup of confectioners sugar, and whip until thickened. Decorate with fruit of your choice; strawberries are excellent.
[photo: A slice of Pavlova the day after; we were too anxious to try it to stop and photograph it in its entirety. Note the crusty meringue, and the berries resting on a cloud of whipped cream... I am smitten.]