Ahhh strawberry blueberry Pavlova. Named after Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballet dancer, perhaps because it’s a light and elegant dessert. It starts with a meringue bottom that’s easy to make if you know the secrets (you probably already have the ingredients). A topping of fresh strawberries and blueberries makes it the most festive dessert, perfect for Easter, Passover or a welcome celebration of spring.
About meringue: Meringue is essentially egg whites and sugar whipped up and baked to a light, crispy exterior with a marshmallow interior. The secret to its success is to 1) make sure there is no fat in the mixture from a greasy mixing bowl or bits of egg yolk from separating the eggs. 2) The sugar must be completely dissolved into the egg whites before the meringue is baked. Using superfine helps and so does the cream of tartar (helps egg whites rise) and cornstarch (helps with consistency).
About macerated berries: Think of it as marinating fresh fruit with sugar and lemon juice allowing the berries to release their natural juices. Add a touch of liquor such as Grand Marnier or Frambois for a sophisticated flavor kick.
Variation on a theme: Traditional strawberry blueberry Pavlova is a layer of meringue then, whipped cream then, berries. However, you can use any fruit you like and even skip the whipped cream eliminating lots of fat and calories.
- 4 large egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1-cup superfine sugar
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and cut in half
- 1 pint blueberries
- 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- Juice of half a lemon
- Whipped Cream
- 1-cup heavy cream
- 1-tablespoon superfine sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees
- Meringue: Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Mix the cornstarch into the sugar and slowly add to the egg whites, a tablespoon at a time, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the meringue is stiff with shiny peaks.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the meringue in the middle to make a circle approximately 9-inches in diameter. Smooth the top making a shallow well in the center for the strawberries when the meringue is finished baking.
- Bake 1 hour until the meringue is dry to the touch and can be gently lifted off the baking sheet. Turn the oven off and cool in the oven (this will keep the meringue from cooling too quickly and cracking), about ½ hour.
- Strawberries: Place prepared strawberries in a medium bowl. Add sugar and lemon juice. Toss and chill for 1 hour (while the meringue is baking). Layer macerated strawberries with their juice on top of the meringue.
- Whipped Cream: Place heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high until soft peeks form. Slowly add sugar and continue beating. Serve on top of individual Pavlova servings (optional).