Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pavlova with Three Berry Sauce

I've had this in Scotland years ago, made as a big cake for parties; one large yummy, crunchy meringue on the bottom, topped with lots of pillowy soft whip cream and topped with sliced fresh fruit like raspberries, strawberries, kiwis, peaches. OMG, it's wonderful. It's messy to cut and serve, but that makes up for the look of sheer happiness of everyone eating the cake!

I saw this recipe in the most recent Sunset magazine and had to try it.  Since it's still grey and rainy here, I used frozen berries from Costco, instead of fresh. I served it to friend's on that same rainy night and was a little disappointed that my meringues weren't as crisp and lovely as when I pulled them from the oven, so beware of moist, humid days for this dessert, it's best suited to a clear beautiful day.
Serves 6-8

3 egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

6 cups berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries), or 4 cups frozen
1/3 cup sugar

1 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 250°. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites with cornstarch on medium speed until very foamy. Sprinkle in 3/4 cup sugar, about 1 tbsp. at a time, while beating; beat until meringue holds stiff, shiny peaks, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla and vinegar and beat 30 seconds more.

This is how stiff this stuff is!

(See my cute nails that my daughter did for me? A thin copper line of polish to liven up a french manicure!)
Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper. Using a large spoon, drop meringue onto paper in 8 equal dollops 2 in. apart. Press back of spoon into dollops to make shallow bowls about 3 in. wide.

Bake meringues until a pale golden crust has formed (surface shouldn't be sticky), 40 to 50 minutes. Turn off oven, open door wide and let the meringues cool slowly in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  This helps avoid a “crash” of the meringues from cooling too quickly out of the oven.

Put berries in a small saucepan with remaining 1 tbsp. sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat, uncovered. Simmer, stirring gently every now and then, until berries begin to break down, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

Whip cream. Top each cooled meringue with cream and berries, dividing evenly.

Make ahead: Pavlovas, up to 1 week airtight at room temperature; sauce, up to 1 day, chilled.

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