As Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off the summer – A.K.A. bikini season – we crave a dessert that’s light, refreshing and fruit-forward. This weekend, we’re making a pavlova: a meringue dessert topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. We love this dessert because it’s easy to make, yet elegant – the merengue crust delivers complexity, as it’s crisp on the outside and marshmallow-y on the inside, while the cool whipped cream and berries add layers of subdued sweetness. (Note: while you can use any type of fruit to top a traditional pavlova, for Memorial day we chose strawberries and blueberries to make our dessert red, white and blue.)
Follow the recipe below to make this delicate, delicious and festive dessert for your Memorial Day BBQ.
- 4 extra-large egg whites (room temperature)
- 1 pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar (divided)
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2tsp vanilla extract (divided)
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
Preheat the oven to 180° F.
Spread a sheet of parchment paper onto a sheet pan. Using a pencil and a 9-inch bowl or plate as a guide, draw a 9-inch circle in the center of the paper. Then, flip the paper over to keep the pencil mark from transferring to the merengue (you should still be able to see the pencil mark on the other side).
Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until firm – about 1 minute. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in 1 cup of the sugar. Continue to beat until you have stiff, shiny peaks – about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sprinkle the cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and the vinegar onto the egg white mixture, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the mixture into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper, and use your rubber spatula to smooth the meringue into a disc shape within the circle. Transfer the baking pan to the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
After this time, keep the meringue in the oven, but turn off the oven so that it can slowly cool for about 1 hour. When it’s done cooling, it will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
While your meringue is baking, you can prepare the whipped cream. First, clean out your mixing bowl and whisk so that you can use it to whip the cream. Pour the heavy cream into the bowl, and add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and teaspoon of vanilla. Turn the mixer on medium, and whisk just until it’s thick and you have stiff peaks (be sure not to overbeat).
After your meringue cools, remove it from the oven. Choose a pretty plate, platter or stand to serve your dessert on, and carefully turn the meringue disc over onto the center of the serving plate and peel off the parchment paper. Spread the top of your meringue completely with the whipped cream. Spread the fresh berries on top of the whipped cream, and serve!
Happy Memorial Day! And thanks for cooking with us! Be sure to share your cooking skills with us by tagging the @thetable_nyc on Instagram, and using the hashtag #thetablenycrecipes .