If you’re looking for a delicious, easy dessert, it doesn’t get much simpler than pavlova.
The pavlova is named after a famed Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Both countries claim to have invented the dessert. The New Zealand story stems from a billowy dessert, supposedly resembling her tutu, created by the chef of a Wellington hotel. The Australians claim pavlova was invented at a hotel in Perth, when a dinner declared his dessert to be as “light as Pavlova.” Recent research indicates pavlova was more likely a European invention that traveled to America and made its way elsewhere on boxes of cornstarch.
Regardless of its origins, pavlova is a lightly-sweet, pillowy meringue that is yummy on its own, but especially when topped with sweetened whip cream and fresh berries.
Pavlova with Fresh Berries and Sweet Cream
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 cups fresh berries
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment paper (easy to do if you trace around a cake pan or skillet).
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the granulated sugar, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and corn starch.
Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Spread mixture out toward the edge, building the edge slightly so the center has a slight depression. Bake for one hour, remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack.
Beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form, sweeten with powdered sugar. Rinse berries (you can use any variety or a mixture of your favorites).
Place pavlova on a cake stand or serving platter. Fill the center with whipped cream then top with berries. Slice and serve!