Pavlova is a meringue based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It was created in Australia or New Zealand, the dispute has never been settled, after one of her tours in the 1920’s.
It can be one large meringue base to serve everyone or made into individual small meringues for individual desserts. Pavlova impresses no matter how you serve it.
This recipe uses brown sugar for a little more flavour. Any berries or fruits can be used but the pineapples are so nice in the stores right now that I decided upon a tropical theme.
Brown Sugar Pavlova with Seasonal Fruit and Berries
1 c. granulated sugar 250 mL
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar 125 mL
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch 20mL
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 7 mL
2 tsp. white vinegar 10 mL
3/4 c. egg whites (from 5 to 6 large eggs) at room temperature 30 minutes 185 mL
4 c. selection of seasonal fruits or berries 1 L
2 tbsp. granulated sugar 30 mL
1 c. chilled heavy cream 250 mL
1/3 c. chilled sour cream 80 mL
Preheat oven to 250 F (120 C) with rack in middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pulse sugar, brown sugar and cornstarch in a food processor until well combined. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps.
Stir together vanilla and vinegar in a small bowl.
Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Increase speed to medium-high and add sugar mixture one tablespoon (15 mL) at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat one minute more. Add vinegar mixture, then beat at high speed until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Using a piping bag make individual pavlovas about four inches (10 cm) in diameter or make two large ones. Start piping from the centre and work outwards. Or you can simply use a large spoon and smooth it into a round. Make the outer edge higher than the inside whether piping or spooning.
Bake until meringues have a crisp crust and feel dry to the touch, about one hour. The inside will still be marshmallowy.
Turn oven off and prop door open slightly. Cool meringue in oven for one hour. Meringue may sink slightly and crack while cooling.