Summer Berry Pavlova
A bowl of white glossy meringue with stiff peaks is a glorious sight. After years of experimenting, I’ve settled on a six-egg meringue, which makes a robust Pavlova or individual meringues that have a crisp shell and a marshmallow interior. It’s also a great gluten-free option. The recipe can easily be halved for more modest midweek individual meringues.
One large Pavlova. Bake approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes.
8-10 Individual Meringues. Bake approximately 40 minutes.
Preparation: 20 minutes
- Meringue needs fine sugar, such as caster sugar • Meringue hates fat; keep those yolks out of the whites • Meringue likes boundaries and enough volume to create a crisp outside and a soft center • Meringue loves to be cooked low and slow • Meringue deflates in humidity and cracks with abrupt changes in temperature
- 1 1⁄2 cups (300g) caster or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar, plus a splash for wiping utensils
- 6 egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream, chilled
- 3 to 4 cups various seasonal berries
- Preheat the oven to 300°F /150°C.
- Line a large ﬂat baking pan with parchment paper. Draw guides by tracing around an 8- inch round cake pan for a Pavlova or use a 2 1⁄2- inch cookie cutter for the individual meringues. Flip the parchment paper upside down so the ink or lead doesn’t end up on the meringue.
- If you are using granulated sugar, grind it in a food processor or put it in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin, until it’s fine, like caster sugar.
- Wipe a little vinegar over the whisk attachment and the mixing bowl of an electric mixer to make sure it’s free from any fat residue. Add the egg whites to the bowl, making certain there is no yolk.
- Beat the egg whites on low speed, gradually increasing the speed to medium. Beat until the egg whites have soft peaks, about 4 minutes. Add the cornstarch. Increase the speed to medium- high and, without stopping the mixer, gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the meringue is smooth, glossy, and tripled in volume.
- Finally, add the teaspoon of vinegar and the vanilla and mix until just combined.
- Dollop a finger of meringue in the corners of the tray to secure the paper. using the circle or circles you have traced as your guide, pile the meringue high onto the center of the circle or circles. using a spatula or a spoon, gently work the meringue to fit the circle and create a slight indentation in the center.
- Turn the oven temperature down to 250°F /120°C. Place the baking pan in the center of the oven. For the Pavlova, bake for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the outside is crisp and the center soft. For the individual meringues, bake for approximately 40 minutes; check on them after the first 10 minutes to make sure they’re not browning too much. If they are, turn the oven down a little bit more.
- When meringue has baked, turn off the oven. Leave the pan in the oven to cool completely. Remove the Pavlova or individual meringues from the oven just before serving.
- To top: Pour the cream into a cold, large metal bowl. Using a balloon whisk, begin to whisk the cream until it’s doubled in volume, has smooth sot peaks , and is light and fluffy. Just before serving, spoon the cream onto the top of the meringue, leaving half and inch around the perimeter. Top with the berries: start with the larger strawberries and then pile the more-delicate berries on top.