Okay, I’m going to level with you. I’m going to go on record right now and state that nothing – nothing – is tastier than strawberries and cream. Not cranberry goat cheese salad; not peanut butter s’mores; not Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia; not even my old bff, chocolate.
Strawberries and cream are just King of the Rock and will never be dethroned, so there.
What brings this berry-flavoured passion forward today? Well, strawberries were on sale, for one, so I bought three cartons. Two, I made a strawberry pavlova, and you should too.
Pavlovas are sweetened meringue cakes typically topped with berries and whipped cream. They are light and snappy on the outside, and the wonderful teeth-pleasing texture of cereal marshmallows on the inside.
I think pavlovas could make a meringue disciple out of the most adverse individual, because I myself am not that much of a fan of meringue. I feel they always tend to retain the smell and flavour of egg whites. But, I mean, the devilish duo of strawberries and cream just annihilates that, and now I’m pretty solidly addicted.
Pavolva was named for famed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. History!
Meringues are pretty low-maintenance. Even if it doesn’t rise as high as it should, or collapses, it’s not that big of a deal. Pavlovas are a sort of towering mess of a dessert, where everything is just thrown on top. Nobody’s going to notice or care if you don’t reach great new heights of meringue.
They also just pretty much sit in the oven til they’re done. Cooked at 250F for 1 hour, and then dried out in the oven until cool, it’s a pretty easy thing to take care of. So, make one today and enjoy life.
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 a teaspoon if you want to go easy on the vanilla)
- 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- Pinch (1/4 teaspoon) of cream of tartar if you aren’t using a copper bowl
Preheat your oven to 250F.
- Sprinkle the pinch (or 1/4 teaspoon) of cream of tartar into your mixing bowl, and pour in the egg whites. Beat on medium speed until you get soft peaks in the meringue – 5 to 10 minutes. Add in the vanilla.
- At soft peak stage, slowly add in the 1 cup of sugar a bit at a time, and continue beating the eggs to stiff peaks; when you remove the beaters the meringue should form a mountain that holds firm and doesn’t sag (except maybe at the very tip). You should be able to perform the DQ Blizzard Test.
- Sprinkle the corn starch and vinegar over the meringue and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula.
- Spread the mixture into a circle out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.
- Make the edges higher than the centre, or put a little well in the centre. You want to be able to hold all the cream!
- Bake for 60 – 70 minutes, or until the meringue is a pale cream colour. You should see some cracks in the edges and surface.
- Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar a little (or just close it completely if it’s hot outside. I mean, really) and let the pavlova cool to room temp.
Next you want to add your toppings. Generally the pavlovas are topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream, but nobody’s stopping you from doing whatever you want. Top with custard and kiwi, or chocolate sauce and cherries, or ice cream!
We’re going to do strawberries and cream, because it’s the King of all combinations.
Wash your strawberries.
Exactly like this. Your roomies love when you do this.
Dice about 10 berries, enough for about 1 cup. If you have a great and powerful sweet-tooth, toss them with a little sugar, but they’re fine plain.
Pile the berries on top of the meringue in a delicious heap.
Next you want to add a layer of whipped cream (optionally sweetened with sugar and vanilla) that has been beaten to stiff peaks as well. Layer whipped cream, and then more diced or sliced berries, and then another layer of cream. Make a big mountain.
Chill in the fridge for a bit until it’s time to serve. It’s best to serve as soon as possible, because the strawberries and cream eventually start to leak out a little water.
Now doesn’t that just the picture of summer? Yes. Yes it does.
Apologies to people with strawberry and dairy allergies. Perhaps that combo is not King for you. What is?