Pavlova. I think it means, Mother-in-law kiss ass, in Danish. No? Well, it means Happy Birthday Carol, in Americanese. In honor of your celebrated aging, I have created a decadent dessert for you to enjoy. It is a hometown classic and one that you should try to make because it is really easy and it looks delicious (see the pictures!). Unfortunately, you live over 600 miles away, so until you make it yourself you’ll have to take my word for it.
I will, in celebration of your new age, describe it in a way that only someone half your age would understand, which really is a compliment.
“OMG, this is so good. It’s like the best dessert, ever. It’s like Chase Crawford and Ed Westwick-delicious good. It’s, like, the best thing, like I have ever eaten.”
I wish we could have been there to give you balloons and roll out streamers. Next time we will. Happy Birthday.
As an Australian, I should be able to make this recipe in my sleep, but I don’t. I have lifted the entire meringue recipe from Eggbeater’s Shuna Lydon. It is the best recipe there is. I have listed the ingredients and directions verbatim below, or you can go to this post directly.
Makes 8-10 individual pavlovas
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (about 6) large egg whites, preferably room temperature
- Pinch salt
- 2 pints fresh or frozen berries
- 1/4 cup strawberry or blackberry jam
- Fresh whipped cream for topping
Recipe adapted from Flo Baker's pavlovas in the San Francisco Chronicle: Fourth of July dessert has roots in Australia
- Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the vanilla and vinegar (if using) into a small cup. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites, cream of tartar (if using) and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
- Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar (if you didn't use cream of tartar.) Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Pipe or spoon the meringue into 8-10 large round mounds that are 3 inches wide on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once meringue is baked.
- Place baking sheet in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside, and white -- not tan-colored or cracked. The interiors should have a marshmallow-like consistency. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.
- Gently lift from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or individually wrapped, for up to a week if your house is not humid.
- Place 1/4 cup of berries along with jam in a saucepan and heat on moderate heat for 12 minutes. Let it cool and refrigerate.
- Served topped whipped cream, berry sauce and fresh berries.