Pavlova. Crunchy meringue that turns soft and gummy with every bite. A light cream that binds tart fresh fruit with a crisp cookie. It’s a beautiful summer dessert.
The meringue was a perfect way to break in my “new” vintage kitchenaid stand mixer, which was a welcome-home gift from my husband since I’ve been away for the past two weeks.
It was an incredible find at a local thrift store, and one that we are both going to enjoy for a long time. The model is an old Hobart design, engineered to be fixed, not replaced–my favorite kind of machinery.
So this pavlova is a celebratory dessert for us. This was my first time making pavlova, and I was amazed at how easy it was with the right equipment (and with my trusty Cooks Illustrated). It takes some planning in terms of baking and cooling time. Allow for:
* time to bring the eggs to room temperature (see a little trick below to speed this up)
* time to bake: 1.5-2 hours
* time to cool: 2 hours
Otherwise, the active cooking time and assembling time 10-15 minutes, tops.
Makes 6 large pavlovas
* 4 egg whites
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract
* 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
* 1 cup of white sugar
* 1 cup heavy whipping cream
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1 Tbsp. sugar
* Fresh fruit (e.g. berries, peaches, mango, kiwi)
For the Meringue:
1. You’ll need 4 egg whites at room temperature. A quick way to warm up cold eggs is to submerge them in warm-lukewarm water.
2. Separate whites and yolks. (Set aside the yolks, but have fun with them by making something rich like a lemon curd or fresh mayo or hollandaise)
3. In a stand mixer, add egg whites, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar to mixing bowl. Mix on medium-low until foamy (~1 min). Mix on medium-high until soft peaks form (~1-2min). Of course you can use another kind of electric mixer. And I have definitely beat egg whites by hand before, though have never successfully brought them to “stiff peak” stage.
4. Gradually add your 1 cup of sugar and continue beating until egg whites are glossy and form stiff peaks (~1-2 min). The meringue will hold its shape and won’t sink or droop as it stands.*
* That pinch of cream of tartar is key for making the egg whites stable, as is starting the egg whites at room temperature
5. Make some mounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I took a big scoop with a spatula and used a spoon to slide the meringue off onto the sheet. Aim for approximately 6 equal and enormous portions. (You could also make 8 more reasonably sized ones)
6. With a spoon, make a well in the mound of meringue for filling later and (if you want) smooth out the edges.
7. Bake them low and slow at 200F for 1h 30-45min. You want to dry them out, so avoid higher temps that might scorch them. Timing may vary depending on your oven and the size of your meringues, but they are done when surface of meringue is dry and smooth to the touch.
Let them cool! It’s best to leave them cool with the oven as it’s nice and dry in there, so approximately 2 hours drying time.
For the Toppings
Takes 5-10 minutes to prepare just before serving.
* Wash, trim, cut your fruit (in my case, a handful of freshly picked berries from our garden and a local trail with wild blackberries)
* Blend 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and and 1/2 cup of sour cream with 1 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla.
* I did a half-portion of the above since I was only making enough for the two of us.
Then… (my favorite part) ASSEMBLE.
If you have leftover meringues, they will keep for a week or two in an airtight container, but they probably won’t last that long. This morning, we finished ours off with our morning coffee. What can I say? It’s sugary air held together by egg whites. Great way to start the day.