Pavlova with Fresh Berries
Named for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, the baked meringue known as a pavlova makes an impressive dessert centerpiece, and it’s much easier to prepare than you would think. Made with just a few simple ingredients, this pavlova is topped with a colorful assortment of spring-fresh berries nestled on a bed of whipped cream. The meringue can be baked and cooled up to a day in advance, then topped with the cream and berries just before serving, making it a practical choice for a spring or summer dinner party.
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 Tbs. cornstarch, sifted
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) plus 3 Tbs. sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups (12 oz./375 g) assorted fresh berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) heavy cream
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 250°F (120°C). Draw a 9-inch (23-cm) circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Turn the parchment over and place on a baking sheet.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the egg whites and beat until foamy, about 3 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to high and very gradually add the 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar, beating until stiff, shiny peaks form, 8 to 10 minutes. Quickly beat in 1 tsp. of the vanilla and the lemon juice.
Spread the meringue inside the circle on the parchment. Use the back of a large spoon to create an indentation in the center of the meringue and a slight rim around the edges.
Bake until the meringue is crisp and the color has deepened slightly, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven and, leaving the door closed, let the meringue cool in the oven for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Carefully remove the meringue from the parchment paper and place on a serving platter.
In a bowl, stir together the berries and 1 Tbs. of the sugar; set aside.
In the clean bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment, beat together the cream, the remaining 2 Tbs. sugar and the remaining 1 tsp. vanilla until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Spoon the whipped cream into the hollow of the meringue and top with the berries. Cut the pavlova into wedges and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen