If you need to cook something sweet and light for the summer, my top recommendation would be pavlova. It is one of the easiest desserts I have ever made but is still insanely delicious. So if you want to make something that will surprise your friends without spending a huge amount of time, look no further than pavlova. And summer is the ideal time for pavlova since the original recipe requires fresh seasonal berries.
There is quite an interesting story behind this dessert. It is generally thought that pavlova was created by a confectioner from either Australia or New Zealand who was astonished by the grace of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova during the “Down Under” ballet tour in 1926. Some claim pavlova’s meringue base even resembles a ballet tutu.
Everyone knows pavlova is a legendary cake, but recently I’ve been making it in the form of small individual cakes that I lovingly call baby pavlovas. I find this to be more convenient for serving and decorating. But honestly, you can shape pavlova however you want. It is not so much about the form as the unique taste. A proper pavlova’s meringue is crispy on the outside and slightly sticky on the inside. Another important point is the combination of whipped cream and fresh berries, which creates the tender and dreamy flavor. Pavlova is one of those few desserts that don’t make you feel like you have overeaten but is still rich and delicious.
To make the merengue, first prepare a large clear bowl by removing any grease with a paper towel soaked in vinegar. Carefully separate the eggs yolks from the whites and whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until you get stiff peaks.
Next, begin to gradually add icing sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon, while the mixer is running. Whisk for a few minutes until you all the sugar has been added and you have a silky and glossy texture. Turn off the mixer and then add some vinegar and cornstarch. This will make the meringue more textured and crunchy. Give the mixture a very gentle final stir with a spatula.
Next, you need to form the meringue. You can use a piping bag with any medium-sized nozzle to create elegant and seamless meringue, but my favorite technique is to use two regular tablespoons. This allows for a more authentic and delicate look. Spread the mixture out in circles, creating small craters in each. Then spoon the cream. Bake the meringues at 100-120°C for about an hour and thirty minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside until the oven has cooled.
The cream is just as simple. Simply whisk the heavy cream until there are soft peaks. You can also add some vanilla extract or even yogurt or cream cheese. The one thing I do not recommend is adding any additional sugar to the cream because the meringues are already sweet enough, and this sweetness is better balanced with pure whipped cream.
Once the meringues have cooled completely, spoon some cream into the center of each meringue and then top with seasonal berries. I generally use fresh chopped strawberries and wild cherries. Then enjoy your amazing summer baby pavlovas
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