Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Ironic isn't it? A tiny, slender, five foot, delicate ballerina with a sugary, sweet, whipped cream laden dessert as her name sake? I never actually watched Anna perform but I imagine that she was talented, graceful and determined ballerina. Come to think of it, maybe those ARE the attributes that it takes to make a great pavlova. After all, a dessert that requires a minimum of 4 hours to make is NOT for the faint of heart.
Don't freak out about the time commitment - stick with me here - most of the four hours involved in making this elegant dessert are hands off. You will have to ensure that you reserve at least 3 hours of uninterrupted oven time though. The pavlova will need to bake slowly in order to achieve the crisp crust with the soft, marshmallowy center. When the baking's complete, the pavlova will cool in the oven for an additional 1-2 hours.
It seems like a lot of work but trust me - it's soooo worth it. When you fill your meringue ring with fresh whipped cream and top it with fresh fruit - you are going to feel like you're floating on air. Maybe THAT'S why they they named this amazing dessert after the 19th century Russian ballerina.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 pounds sliced stone fruit (apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, pluots)
1 cup fresh berries (blackberries, blueberries)
Spoon whipped cream into center of meringue.
Top with fruit.
As you might have noticed from my pictures, I tried several different techniques to make these individually sized pavlova. (What's the plural of pavlova? pavlovas?) The technique that I liked the best was to fill a pastry bag with meringue and to pipe circles, starting in the center, onto the parchment paper. I feel like these were the most consistent and neatest looking pavlova(s). Enjoy!
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