Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fresh Blackberry Topped Pavlova

Sometimes it takes another culture or cuisine to open my eyes to how a few simple ingredients can make an impressive and delicious dish. Such is the case with Pavlova, a popular dessert of Australia and New Zealand. I previously made a pavlova last year and when my friend Linda brought this dessert to our recent Wine & Dine event, I was reminded how sweet and light this dessert is!

From what I understand, there tends to be some controversy with who came up with the idea of Pavlova first - Australians or New Zealanders. Regardless of where you stand, we can all agree that Pavlova is a guilt-free dessert. Made with a fluffy baked meringue that's cooled and filled with freshly whipped cream, then topped with fresh fruit, this dessert is perfect to end a heavy meal or to enjoy during the spring and summer months. I know I plan on making this dessert more often to make use of the upcoming summer seasonal fruits!

The Best Palova
recipe adapted from AllRecipes

3 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 pint fresh blackberries (or any fresh berries of your choice)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Draw a 9 inch circle on the parchment. An easy way to do this is to draw around the outside of a 9 inch pan with a pencil.

In the bowl of your stand mixer or large bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar gradually, while continuing to whip. Make sure sugar is completely dissolved. Mix together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the cornstarch; lightly fold into meringue with lemon juice.

Spread a layer of meringue to fit circle on parchment, approximately 1/4 inch thick. With remainder of mixture, pipe or spoon swirls around the edges to form a shallow bowl shape.

Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 1 hour. Turn off oven, but leave meringue in oven for an additional 30 minutes. When cool, the meringue should be hard on the outside, and slightly moist on the inside.

In a large bowl, combine the cream and half a cup of confectioners sugar, and whip until thickened. Top with the fresh fruit of your choice. Serve immediately.