Summer Pavlova

Last week’s “Fºd by Degrees” story has turned into an A+ story. My Pavlova failed because I baked it at the wrong temperature (Cº v. Fº). You’ve seen the failure… I thought it only fair to share with you how beautiful it is when it is done right.

What is so fabulous about this dessert is that it is surprisingly easy and fast to prepare. All you need to do is whisk up a few egg whites and sugar into a meringue, spread it free-form onto a tray into the shape of a pie dish and bake it at a low temperature for an hour. The end result is a crispy shell with a chewy center.

Use this delicate vessel to transport whatever filling you can think of: pastry cream, lemon curd, fruits, etc. Besides being versatile, it can make a stunning presentation. Consider making a Pavlova for an elegant dinner party or bring it to a potluck.

My Pavlova has a dark chocolate layer brushed into the well. This will keep any juices from diced fruits from sogging up the shell. The berry fruit salad is spiked with a bit of Triple Sec and the dessert is finished with a tangy lemon whipped cream. The lemony tartness is a fresh counterbalance to the sweetness of the meringue.

When you need a dessert and don’t know what to make, make a Pavlova, and make an impression.



Baking Time: 60 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes for meringue; remaining items can be prepared while meringue bakes

Prepare in Advance
Preheat oven to 275ºF
Line baking tray with parchment paper or silpat mat
Have a copper bowl cleaned with raw lemon to remove dirt and oil
KitchenAid Mixer with copper bowl insert (if available, but not necessary)

Three egg whites (room temperature)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
175 grams (6 oz) super fine sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon raspberry vinegar
¾ cup Ghiradelli dark chocolate morsels

Triple Sec Summer Berries
6 oz. blackberries
6 oz. blueberries
6 oz. red raspberries
6 oz. strawberries, quartered
3 Tablespoons Triple Sec
3 Tablespoons superfine sugar
Zest of one lemon

Lemon Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice (or to taste—it should be tart)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Lemon zest

Separate the whites from the yolks ensuring there is absolutely no yolk in the whites. With an electric mixer and a copper bowl (if available), whisk the whites till foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking until whites are firm. Gradually add half the sugar and continue whisking until the whites are glossy and firm. Reduce the speed and add the remaining sugar, corn starch, and raspberry vinegar. Continue whisking till blended and peaks are firm. Meringue should be glossy and hold firm peaks. Overwhisked meringue will lose its glossy shine and will look dry.

Spread the meringue into a 9” round directly onto the silpat mat. Create a well in the center leaving a 1” wide lip. Use a fork or fingers to shape decorative swirls and textures into the lip. Convection bake for one hour at 275ºF. Turn off oven and let cool for 30 minutes in the oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the silpat mat.

While the meringue is baking, combine all the fruits, Triple Sec, sugar and lemon zest. Allow to macerate while meringue cools.

Gently melt the chocolate in a baine marie. Pour the chocolate into the well of the meringue. Use a pastry brush to completely cover the sides and bottom of the well with the chocolate. Allow to set completely. Set in the freezer for a few minutes to expedite the chocolate setting.

Lemon Whipped Cream:
In a round bottom bowl, combine all ingredients. Whisk until firm. Overwhisking will cause the cream to break creating small clots. Adding a little more cream may rescue it, but not a guarantee.

Drain fruit of any excess liquid. Gently place the fruit into the well of meringue. Top with Lemon Whipped Cream and finish with freshly zested lemon. Garnish with mint sprigs.



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