Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Fruit Pavlova

Don't you just want to dive into that face first?  Or maybe that's just me.  This is a great summer dessert because it's light and you can use any kind of summer fruit.  You can even do it without the sauce, just fruit, whipped cream and meringue.

This is also a great solution for how to use up those eight egg whites you have leftover from the latest yolk-only baking project.  Or maybe that's just me.  And it's purty.

This recipe is slightly adapted from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.  I love her.  Her recipes always work and they are elegant enough for a dinner party but still homey, comforting and delicious.  I want to be her when I grow up.  Or at least inherit her house, after all she has no children to pass it on to.  Hi Aunt Ina!

One note: Meringues do not do well on a humid day.  Yah, I know I just described most summer days.  Anyway, keep in mind you'll be tempting fate if you try to execute this on a muggy day, ya rebels.
Because of tempramental meringue, this is a "eat it the day you make it" dessert.  I guess that means you're just going to have to polish off whatever is left at midnight.  Or maybe that's just me.

Summer Fruit Pavlova
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
 Serves 6-8 
4 extra-large egg whites, at room temp 
pinch of kosher salt 
1 c sugar
2t cornstarch
1t white wine vinegar
1/2 t vanilla
4 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups blueberries

Whipped Cream:
1 c heavy cream
1T sugar
1t vanilla

 Fruit Sauce:
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 c sugar
12 ounce jar of red fruit jam, I used cherry

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Using a pie or dinner plate, draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment with pencil.  Turn parchment over.  You will be able to see your circle through the paper.  Set aside.
3. Place egg whites and salt in bowl of mixer using the whisk and beat on high until firm, about 1 minutes.
4.  While still mixing on high speed, gradually pour in sugar to egg whites.  Beat until you have firm shiny peaks that stand up, 2-3 minutes. To test this,  detach the whisk then dip it into the meringue and turn upside down.  If your egg whites hold their shape and don't droop you're done.
5. Sift cornstarch into beaten egg whites and add vinegar and vanilla.  Gently fold ingredients with a rubber scraper until mixed.
6. Transfer meringue into to your drawn circle on the parchment. Use an offset spatula to spread meringue to the edges and smooth.
7. Bake for 90 minutes then turn off oven and leave meringue in oven with the door closed for another hour. 
8. Transfer to plate.

Egg whites before baking
Whipping Cream:
9. In mixer beat heavy cream at high speed until it starts to thicken.  Add in sugar and vanilla and continue beating until firm. Chill until ready to serve.

Fruit Sauce:
10.  Mash chopped strawberries with 1/4 c sugar.  Transfer to a small saucepan.
11. Add in fruit jam and bring to a boil.  Simmer over low heat until mixture is bubbly and fruit has softened.
12. Once cooked, pour the mixture into a food processor and process until smooth.  Chill.

To Assemble:
13. Spoon whipped cream onto meringue disk, leaving a one inch border of meringue all around.
14. Mound your strawberries and blueberries on top of whipped cream.
15.  Spoon chilled fruit sauce over the pavlova.  Serve immediately.

Cooked meringue topped with whipped cream

With berries and sauce

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