I can't believe that Strawberry season has already come and gone! If I had it my way, it would last ALL year. Come on local strawberries, I need you 365 days a year.
This is especially true since strawberries are one of the only berries that I enjoy eating fresh. I know, I know! I'm a little crazy. I like most other berries as long as they're baked into something sweet, or blended up into a smoothie.
Anyway, today we're talking about pavlova. Aka: delicious meringue with whipped cream and strawberries on top!
I had never tried baking pavlova before, and man does it take a lot of patience! Honestly, I would be tempted to make it way more often if it wasn't such a time commitment. In fact, I left this guy cooling in the oven while my family and I rushed off to go see Captain America (finally!!). It took my mind of having to wait for the darn meringue to cool, so that was a win win situation.
I love the contrasting crunch of the pavlova, the fluffiness of the whipped cream, and the sweet juiciness of the strawberries. So many wonderful textures going on in this dessert. Oh and I can't forget about the mint! I diced some fresh mint to sprinkle on over top, and I think it is the loveliest complement to the strawberries.
Strawberry Mint Pavlova
recipe: Shiran - Pretty.Simple.Sweet
yields: one 9-inch pavlova
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice (or white wine vinegar)
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Fresh fruit for topping
(Optional: mint leaves, diced)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon of icing sugar (or to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325F. Trace a 9-inch circle (I traced a cake pan) onto a sheet of parchment paper, and use that to line a baking sheet.
Place egg whites into a large bowl, and beat on high until they start to foam and soft peaks start to form. Reduce speed slightly, and slowly add in sugar. Increase speed once all the sugar has been added, and beat until stiff peaks form.
Add in cornstarch, vinegar, salt, and vanilla, and gently fold in by hand with a spatula until just combined. (You don't want to deflate the meringue too much!)
Carefully spread the meringue onto the parchment paper, and shape into a circle. The edges should be slightly higher than the center.
Place the meringue into the oven, reduce temperature to 230F, and bake for 75-90 minutes. The outside will have a hint of colour and look dry. Turn off oven and let the meringue dry completely inside. It will crack as it dries, and that's totally normal!
Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream with icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
Wash and prepare strawberries. I left mine whole, but it's a little more practical to cut them up properly before serving.
Spread whipped cream over cooled meringue, top with strawberries (or other fresh fruit), and sprinkle with a bit of diced mint leaves. Serve!
*Meringue is best the first day, but will keep in the fridge for a day or two.
Happy pavlova making! And may your patience be never-ending.