Fourth of July is coming. Backyard barbecue invitations are beginning to arrive. I like to bring dessert. If I dare let anyone taste anything I make. These days I don’t make enough to share with more than a couple to a few people anyway. Small batches are now more prevalent mostly for the photographs and the tastings. There is so much trial and error and some say I am wasting a many of ingredients with all the testings I do. If the test recipes happen to be particularly good, well that is another story. This one deserves a space on a table. Inspiration from the New York Times Nigella Lawson recipe is how this post came to be and the recipe included below.
From the readings of internet searches and according to some other bloggers that have made one or more of the Pavlova, the origin of this delicate pillowy confection is up still a debate amongst many. New Zealand, Australia or the back of an American corn starch container? I think I read that right. Wherever it came from, I am glad it came to be. The name, Pavlova, is in honor of the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. This, unlike the origin, inarguable.
This is my first time making the Pavlova and while I keep the recipe classic for the actual meringue (who wants to mess with perfection), I go off track a bit from the below New York Times Nigella Lawson recipe and make a sauce using Lambrusco and strawberries instead of adorning with fresh raw fruits. After forgetting to let the sauce cool for this first one, a bit of messy magic happens as you will see in the photos below. Absolutely delicious despite and I’d do it again.
FOR THE MERINGUE:
- 4 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ¼ cups superfine sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
- A few drops vanilla extract
FOR THE TOPPING:
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
- ½ teaspoon high-quality vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon high-quality balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- To prepare meringue: heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and draw a circle on the paper using an 8- or 9- inch cake pan as a guide. Flip the parchment over so the pencil marking is facing down (this ensures that the pencil won’t transfer to the meringue). In bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg whites and salt. Begin beating at low speed, slowly increasing to high. Continue until satiny peaks begin to form; gradually beat in sugar a tablespoon at a time until meringue is stiff and shiny.
- Sprinkle in cornstarch, white-wine vinegar and vanilla, and fold in gently. Mound onto parchment within circle, and shape into a disk, flattening top and smoothing sides. Place in oven, and immediately reduce heat to 300 degrees. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn off heat, and allow meringue to cool completely in oven.
- To prepare topping: in a mixing bowl, combine strawberries, vanilla, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.
- To serve, carefully peel off parchment and place meringue on a platter or cake stand. Gently crack the top with the back of a soup spoon to make a shallow nest for the whipped cream and berries. Whip cream until it is thick enough to hold peaks, and spoon it evenly over meringue. Cover cream with strawberries, allowing a small amount of their liquid to dribble onto cream. Serve immediately.
This is how my sauce looks and the messy magic I reference above.
Half a bottle of sweet Lambrusco, sugar, lemon zest and strawberries. Maybe next time I’ll add balsamic vinegar an maybe mint. I’ll perfect this recipe and get back to you. Enjoy the photos until then.
**Lambrusco is a grape in Italy used to make a sweet or dry effervescent wine. The sweet or dolce (sweet in Italian) wine is on that I use.
Permission to explore a new subject and perhaps be introduced to a new blog or style of something or just make a mess in the kitchen is what I hope you will do after you read and see one of my posts. Maybe even visit a place. Of course try a recipe first and then play bit. Have fun no matter. No need to feel intimidated. If I can do it, so can you. And as for the July 4th American Independence Day festivities, no matter your dessert or toppings, may you eat well, laugh lots, and, celebrate your freedoms. Happy July 4th! Happy summer!
Until Next Time…