This pavlova with berries is a cloud of sweet, crisp, chewy meringue made with egg whites and sugar and topped with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and grapes. Elegant, gorgeous, and unbelievably easy to assemble.
Pavlova knows no religious affiliations, creating a stunning flour-free dessert for Passover as well as a classic last course for Easter. The fact that it’s inherently gluten-free means all the more reason to be fancy-free in terms of indulging, whatever your spiritual beliefs.–Karen Morgan
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS FOR MAKING MERINGUE?
If you’ve never made meringue before (or if you have and it didn’t go well), you might be intimidated by this lovely, ethereal dessert. But have no fear, it’s less magic and more know-how. Eggs that are a little older tend to whip up fluffier and sturdier than very fresh ones. (Place an uncracked egg in a glass of water—if it stands up on one end but doesn’t float to the top, it’s perfect for pavlova.) Make absolutely, positively certain there’s no oil or fat in the bowl or egg whites. Even the smallest amount will keep your meringue from whipping. Use a metal or glass bowl (they’re easier to clean than plastic) and be very careful separating your eggs. Finally, use eggs at room temperature. You can separate them straight from the fridge (some people feel it’s easier to separate cold eggs) and then let the whites come to room temp before you start. You’ve got this.
Pavlova With Fresh Berries
Australia’s favorite dessert was named after ballerina Anna Pavlova by a chef who wanted to create something “as light and ethereal as the dancer herself.” He achieved it with this meringue crust topped with whipped cream and an assortment of fresh berries.
Make the meringue
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use a pencil to trace a 12-inch round on the paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch until smooth.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until they begin to froth and turn opaque. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the sugar mixture in 1/2-cup increments. Immediately add the vinegar, return to high speed, and beat until stiff peaks form, at least 2 minutes.
Pour the boiling water into the egg whites all at once. The egg whites will swell up. Beat the egg whites until the water is totally incorporated, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks, 3 to 5 minutes.
Reach for a rubber spatula and carefully fill in the base of the traced circle with some of the meringue. Continue to add the meringue, fashioning fancy swoops and swirls, until you to have a thick layer that sort of resembles a cake. Bake the meringue for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 200°F (93°C) and bake for 40 minutes more.
Remove the meringue from the oven, place the baking sheet on a wire rack, and let it cool completely. Once cool, gently remove the parchment paper by rolling it out from under the meringue. Take care as the meringue will be very delicate.
Make the whipped cream
In a large, deep bowl, beat the cream until it begins to hold its shape. Add the sugar and the vanilla and almond extracts. Beat until soft peaks form.
Assemble the Pavlova
Carefully spread the whipped cream in a thick layer over the top of the meringue, and top with the mixed fresh fruit. Serve at once, presenting it at the table and then cutting it into wedges.
Pavlova With Fresh Stone Fruits
During stone-fruit season, you can easily substitute sliced peaches or nectarines for the berries. Simply toss them with a little lemon juice and a teaspoon or so of sugar to prevent them from turning a dingy shade of brown.
Serving: 1servingCalories: 299kcal (15%)Carbohydrates: 40g (13%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 15g (23%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 54mg (18%)Sodium: 47mg (2%)Potassium: 129mg (4%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 36g (40%)Vitamin A: 822IU (16%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 31mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Originally published April 1, 2010