Have you ever seen a pavlova? It is a glorious sight!!!! The crisp white meringue dripping with glorious berries and sugary syrup would make the best of us swoon. Pavlova has been one of those elusive dishes for me. I have gazed at it in the pages of many a cookbook and nearly drooled to death when watching Barefoot Contessa whip up this delicious treat. To date, I haven't had a reason to make one. It also doesn't contain chocolate and must be eaten immediately so I was hesitant to put in the time to make it happen. This month I hosted our wonderful Book Club and had the perfect excuse to make this light and scrumptious summery dessert. Let me just tell you now, it is worth all of the effort!!! Who needs chocolate when you have a lovely pavlova?!
Mixed Berry Pavlova, Barefoot Contessa at Home
* 4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
* Pinch kosher salt
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* Sweetened Whipped Cream, recipe follows
* 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
* 1/2 pint fresh blueberries
* 1/2 pint fresh raspberries
* Triple Raspberry Sauce, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side. (This way you won't get a pencil mark on the meringue.)
Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Combine the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of raspberry sauce, or enough to coat the berries lightly. Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.
Sweetened Whipped Cream:
* 1 cup cold heavy cream
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don't overbeat!
Yield: 1 cup
Triple Raspberry Sauce:
* 1 half-pint fresh raspberries
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 cup seedless raspberry jam (12-ounce jar)
* 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur
Place the raspberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.
Yield: 2 cups