Did you have a good weekend? They always go too fast! While I talk a lot about being ready to usher in fall, I’m trying to soak up this last month of summer… and that includes making all of my summertime favorites in the kitchen. Our strawberries in the garden are pretty much finished, but I grabbed a basket from the farmer’s market over the weekend and wanted to put them to good use. I thought about shortcake, pie, ice cream, and frozen margaritas (ha!) but eventually landed on a light and refreshing favorite: pavlova. We just started carrying cookbooks (and design books) in the Tuesday Made shop, and of course I tested them all before offering them. My hands down, favorite cookbook this summer has been The Home Cook by Alex Guarnaschelli (all of the recipes I’ve tried have been instant favorites). It’s packed full of easy, incredibly delicious recipes, and this particular pavlova recipe came from that book. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share one last summer treat with you. It has been awhile since my last recipe post- blueberry muffins in January, I believe? Click through and save this one! It’s delectable, super fun to make, and is beautiful as it is delicious. If you’re looking for something impressive to take to the last summer soirée, this is it!
I’ll admit- I did modify the recipe slightly, because I wanted to use my vanilla paste and powder I bought in French Polynesia. Tahitian vanilla felt like a no brainer for this recipe! I’ll share Alex Guarnaschelli’s original recipe and note my adjustments. That’s how I am with cookbooks… I like to get creative and put my own spin on things. I think that’s why I find cookbooks so inspiring and fun to use.
Pavlova with Soaked Strawberries & Vanilla Cream
Soaked Berry Topping
- 1 lb fresh strawberries hulled and halved
- 1 tbsp rapsberry or strawberry jam
- 1 large lemon zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
- 1 cup heavy cream
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- Macerate the fruit. Put the strawberries and the jam in a medium bowl and sprinkle them with a light layer of lemon zest, the lemon juice, and the red wine vinegar. Add the brown sugar, ginger, and vanilla pod and toss gently to combine all the flavors. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
- Position an oven rack as close to the top as you can. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, draw a 12-inch circle onto it, and turn the paper over. Spray it with cooking spray.
- Make the meringue. In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the granulated sugar with the cornstrach. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, blend the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until the whites hold their shape and the whisk leaves lines in the whites. Lower the mixer speed to medium and start adding the sugar mixture, tablespoon by tablespoon, waiting until each spoonful is incorporated. The meringue should be firm and glossy.
- Bake the meringue. Spoon the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out to fill the circle in an even layer. Bake undisturbed for 45 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and bake for an additional 20 minutes. The exterior of the meringue should be crusty when touched, and the interior should be moist. If it isn't crunchy on the outside, bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- Whip the cream, assemble, and serve the dessert. Combine the cream and the reserved vanilla bean seeds to the mixer and whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks. Top the meringue with the vanilla cream, followed by the strawberries. Serve immediately.
I substituted the raspberry jam in the recipe for strawberry jam- just because that is what I had available in our kitchen. I think the raspberry would taste wonderful, but the strawberry worked!
I also wanted to note, sometimes I struggle with meringue. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re at a high elevation and the altitude plays a factor, but this meringue recipe is my new foolproof go-to. I was able to whip up stiff glossy peaks in record time. If you’ve ever struggled with pavlova or meringue, I’m here to tell you- this recipe works.
You could probably make the pavlova look really beautiful and take the time to spread the meringue in a fun swoopy circular way- or even pipe it into pretty mounds, but I kind of liked the undone, fuss-free look. I dumped it onto my parchment lined baking sheet, and quickly spread it around with a large spoon. Easy!
The soaked berries are divine! I let mine macerate for 2-3 hours while I ran errands. The lemon zest, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, and fresh vanilla create a flavor profile made in heaven. They have a tartness to them that perfectly pairs with the sweet crunch of the pavlova and the light vanilla cream.
I love vanilla, so I scraped a fresh vanilla bean and used my Tahitian vanilla powder for the whipped cream. The vanilla powder is dried vanilla in a powdered sugar. I like that it added some sweetness to the cream and kicked the vanilla flavor up a notch.
Assembly is the easiest (and most fun) part of the process. After the pavlova cools, spread the vanilla whipped cream, and top with the berries.
This dessert was a serious win in our house and we had enough to share with our neighbors. It’s light, equally sweet and tart, and tastes like summertime.
I also really like the textural differences… the silky smooth vanilla creamy paired with the crunch of the pavlova exterior is very nice!
Are you a fan of pavlova? Have you ever made it? I’d love to hear your favorite summertime desserts, as well as your recent favorite cookbooks! You can catch mine in this post.