So, what exactly is pavlova? It's a version of meringue that was developed in Australia or New Zealand (depending on who you ask), which was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. The meringue is baked for an extended time at a low temperature, after which it comes out crispy and crunchy on the outside and like a mix between marshmallows and angel food cake on the inside. You probably already have the basic ingredients on hand, and if not you can acquire them for a few dollars.
Pavlova with Fresh Whipped Cream and Berries
For the pavlova:
4 large egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white vinegar
For the whipped cream:
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar.
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Use a round cake pan to trace a circle onto the parchment paper with a pencil. Flip the parchment so that it's pencil side down - you'll still be able to see the outline.
2. Allow eggs to sit at room temperature for about ten minutes then separate whites. With your electric mixer (I used my whisk attachment), beat egg whites on high speed for one minute. Continue beating on high and add the sugar one tablespoon at a time. After sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla extract. Continue beating until egg mixtures is glossy and stiff peaks form when lifted.
3. Fold in cornstarch and vinegar (don't leave these out - baking is a science and these are important!). Spread the mixture onto the prepared parchment paper into a circle.
4. Put pavlova in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 250 degrees. Bake for one hour, then turn off the oven and leave the pavlova in the oven for an additional hour without opening the door.
5. Just before serving the cooled pavlova, pour the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract into a chilled metal bowl (this helps with the whipping process). I also chilled my whisk attachment. Turn electric mixer to medium high setting and beat the cream until it is to the correct consistency.
6. Spread whipped cream over pavlova, top with berries and cut into pieces just as you would a cake.
Crispy on the outside, marshmalloy on the inside and all around perfect.