Pavlova

I’m all about eggs these days.  Eggs make the best summertime desserts.  Or anytime desserts.

Pavlova was “created” in the 1920’s in honor of Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova.  Both Australia and New Zealand claim the baked meringue with crunchy outer shell and a moist interior, concocted at the same time as her tour to these countries.

Airy and light, high in protein (uses 4 egg whites) and sweetened with sugar, the meringue is a base for a layer of whipped cream followed by a topping of berries or other fruit. Another sweet variation is custard sauce instead of whipped cream, and topped with fruit again.

Start by separating the whites from 4 eggs and whipping them with 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar and a pinch of salt.

Once they are foamy, start gradually adding in 3/4 cup of sugar with 1 tablespoon cornstarch.  The cornstarch gives extra crispiness to the shell.

Whip on a high mixer setting until the peaks become firm and glossy.

Spoon onto parchment paper, making a dent in the middle for filling later.

Bake at 300 degrees for 20-30 or until lightly browned.  It’s best to watch this for browning, rather than relying on time, because each oven seems to take a different amount of time to brown. If they seem to be browning before they begin to crisp on the outside, lower the temperature to 250.

Whip up 1 cup of cream and add a tablespoon of sugar if desired and a teaspoon of vanilla. I like the whipped cream to be somewhat elegantly droopy, more like a flowing chiffon gown rather than a tutu, so don’t whip too hard . . .

Spread this on top of the Pavlova.  Sprinkle with berries.  Fall in love.

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