Strawberry Pavlova

There is some debate about who/when/where this dessert was first made, but little or no debate that it was made in honor of Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, in the 1920s or ’30s.  She was on a tour Down Under at the time.   There are many variations of pavlova.   Some recipes call for brown sugar instead of white.  The meringues can be formed into individual servings instead of one large circle.  Instead of strawberries, try raspberries, or kiwi, or blackberries, or peaches, or blueberries, or passionfruit, or any delicious combination thereof.  The filling is usually plain whipped cream,  but this recipe also adds some cream cheese.

Strawberry Pavlova

Meringue:

4 egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

pinch of salt

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp vinegar

2 tsp vanilla

Filling:

1  cup whipping cream

4 oz cream cheese, softened

scant 1/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp orange juice

Topping:

4 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.  Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form.  Beat in sugar, a little at a time, until stiff glossy peaks form.  Then beat in cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla.   On a parchment-lined baking sheet, mound the meringue to form a 10″ circle.  Bake at 275 degrees F for 1  hour or until firm to touch.  Turn oven off and let meringue cool in the oven for another hour.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Place meringue on serving plate.  Whip cream to firm peaks, set aside.  Beat cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar and orange juice.  Fold cream cheese mixture into whipped cream.  Just before serving, spread filling over meringue and decorate with sliced strawberries.  Cut into wedges to serve.  Makes 8 servings.

Notes on Meringues:    For this particular use, it’s important not to make the meringue too far ahead of time.  It can be made a day ahead, but not in humid weather, when it will absorb too much moisture and go soggy (ew).  Also, it should not be assembled very far ahead of serving for the same reason– it will go soggy from the cream and fruit.  The goal is to retain a bit of crispness to the outer edge and enjoy the chewy, marshmallowly interior.  When forming the circle  meringue on the parchment, indent the middle of the circle to make a slight edge (not too deep, or it will end up being whipped cream with a crusty edge) to help hold the cream and fruit in place.  The meringue is done when it is firm to touch, and it should be starting to turn a very slight golden color.  The addition of cream of tartar and vinegar to the egg whites, help stabilize and give volume to the egg whites.  Lots of recipes only call for a pinch or so of cream of tartar, but if you bump it up to 1/4 tsp per 4 egg whites, it will be easier to incorporate the sugar and other ingredients without losing the volume you worked so hard to beat into the egg whites in the first place.

Good to the last crumb!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. rsmacaalay
    Mar 07, 2011 @ 02:26:10

    Go to love this Kiwi or Aussie classic (not sure who really made it first).

    Reply

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