I spent my last Saturday before moving out-of-state sorting five cases of 1/2-molded strawberries. And I spent a good deal of time the next few days looking up, modifying, and executing some killer strawberry recipes. One of them was this:
Ah, Pavlova! (I'm just going to keep capitalizing it since it's named after a person) I think my sister-in-law thought I was fibbing when I told her it's a New Zealand/Australian dessert named after a Russian ballerina. But it's true. The lovely mounded meringue base does sort-of resemble a tutu after all--a light, marshmallow-y, melt-in-your-mouth, caramel-y tutu. Mmmmm . . .
You start this amazing dessert with 4 egg whites. Beat and beat them until softly-peaked (I started having nightmares about angel food cake). Then add 1 cup of sugar one tablespoon at a time (I used half turbinado, half brown). Fold in one teaspoon each of vanilla and lemon juice along with two teaspoons of cornstarch.
Next comes the fun part. On a crinkled and cornstarch be-sprinkled parchment, spread out the glossy meringue into a circle, mounded a little at the edges. I marked my parchment with a 9-inch circle so the Pavlova would fit into a certain cake cover. The meringue ended up spreading waaaay past that line, so make it smaller than you want it.
Bake this shell at 300F for an hour, then turn off the heat, crack the oven door, and let it cool to room temperature (even overnight if you like!).
Next comes another fun part! Whipping cream! I whipped about 2/3 pint of cream with a little confectioners sugar and vanilla. Mound this up inside the meringue and top with sliced fruit. I read that strawberries and kiwis are the most popular to use. Strawberries I have. Had.