I hope you had a great 4th of July! What did you do to celebrate? And, to my international friends, did you do anything fun this weekend?
My awesome Australian friend Susie came over and we whipped up a traditional Australian dessert. And then promptly made it American with red and blue fruit. Although, the Australian flag is also red, white and blue, so maybe we just paid homage to the wrong country…
Either way, it was a fantastic dessert for a ridiculously hot day: fluffy and light, topped with cold, freshly whipped cream and perfectly ripe summer fruit.
If you’ve never had pavlova, it’s basically meringue that’s baked at a low temperature until it’s got a thin shell. Break it open and you’ll find a soft, fluffy center that tastes like marshmallow. Traditionally, it’s topped with whipped cream and fruit.
We brought the pavlova (along with BBQ chicken, corn on the cob and salad) over to a friend’s house and chowed down. Then we chased fireworks – we went to Old Sacramento to watch the ones at Raley Field, but apparently they weren’t shooting them off on the 4th (only on the 2nd and 3rd after Rivercats baseball games). On the way home, we started randomly seeing some in the sky and had an adventure trying to track them down. Add in a stop at Big Spoon for frozen yogurt, and you had some happy Americans.
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Makes 15-20 small pavlovas
- 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 2 t distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/2 T cornstarch
- 1 1/2 C sugar
- 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
- A pinch of salt
- Freshly whipped cream (see recipe below)
- Fresh fruit
Preheat oven to 275°F and place rack on middle shelf. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats.
In a small cup or bowl, combine vanilla and vinegar. In a separate small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and sugar.
Using whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt in stand mixer on low speed. Gradually increase speed to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes, until bubbles are very small and the same size, and very soft peaks begin to appear.
Increase speed to medium-high and slowly add sugar and cornstarch mixture to egg whites. Continue to mix for a few minutes, then add vanilla and vinegar. Increase to high speed for around 5 more minutes, until meringue is glossy and has stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted.
Fill piping bag with meringue (if you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a spoon) and pipe 3-4 inch ovals about 1 inch apart (they won’t spread) onto prepared baking sheets. With a spoon or a clean finger, press a small indent on the top of the meringue where the toppings will lie.
Place them in oven and reduce temperature to 250°F. Bake for around 1 hour, or until meringues are dry to the touch and white. If meringues are starting to crack or turn another color before they are done baking, reduce oven temperature by 25°F and turn baking sheet around.
Allow to cool on baking sheet. Serve with fresh whipped cream and fruit.
- 2 C heavy whipping cream
- 2 T sugar
- 1 t vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl, combine whipping cream with sugar and vanilla. With an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
Spoon a little onto each pavlova and top with sliced fruit. Enjoy immediately or store in refrigerator.