“They’ll be laughing and singing, music swinging
Dancing in the street”
Ballet dancing, actually. Specifically, Anna Pavlova, Russian prima ballerina who is most recognized for the creation of the role The Dying Swan. We saw pavlovas made on GBBO yesterday and as I have made meringue cups for years, this seemed like a natural extension. (Plus, I had egg whites left in the fridge from making crème pat earlier this week.)
The recipe was created in either Australia or New Zealand and is a favorite around Christmas in the summer. Wait! Is it a Christmas treat, or a summer treat? Isn’t that a North American oxymoron? Ah, well, it is Christmas Eve, therefore, this time, it is a Christmas treat. (I just realized, I could have used the blueberries and made it a Chanukah treat in Israeli colors of white and blue.)
Deceptively easy and insidiously versatile. You can top your pavlova with berries, nuts, chocolate, mocha, fruit, lemon curd or as King
Mongkut of Siam was fond of saying “etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.” It often depends what is in the fridge or what season it is, or whatever floats your current boat.
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract (clear to keep the meringue very white)
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1½ Tbsp cornstarch
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (6 ounces, about 6) large egg whites, preferably room temperature
- Pinch salt
- 2 pints fresh or frozen berries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Whipped Cream for topping
- Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites, cream of tartar 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 sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla. Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Pipe the meringue into 8-10 large round bowl like mounds that are 3 inches wide on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. (I used a large 1M piping tip.) Leave an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once meringue is baked.
- Place baking sheet in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside, and white — not tan-colored or cracked. The interiors should have a marshmallow-like consistency. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.
- Gently lift from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or individually wrapped, for up to a week if your house is not humid.
- Served topped with your favorite filling – lemon curd, raspberry or blueberry sauce, and freshly whipped cream, etc, etc, etc.
Sauce or Filling Directions
If you want to make a berry sauce, heat a couple pints of fresh or frozen berries in a medium saucepan with about a quarter cup of sugar. (I used a 4:1 berry to sugar ratio.) Heat on medium heat, stirring once or twice, for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how much the berries are falling apart. Remove from heat and let cool.