Today is John’s birthday. I thought I would make him a white cake, his favorite, and a pavlova, as I discovered this summer, is really easy to make. A pavlova consists of a baked meringue disk topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. This recipe was originally from allrecipes.com which I adapted. I also used strawberries instead of kiwi.
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups white superfine (caster) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar, optional
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced (6 kiwis, peeled and sliced, in original recipe)
1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9 inch circle on the parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Over-beaten egg whites lose volume and deflate when folded into other ingredients. Be absolutely sure not a particle of grease or egg yolk gets into the whites. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently fold in the lemon juice and cornstarch.
3. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center.
4. Bake for 1 hour. Cracks will form in the meringue. Cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar. Transfer to a wire rack. The meringue disk can be made a day ahead, cooled, then wrapped airtight in plastic.
5. In a medium bowl beat heavy cream on high speed. Sweeten, if desired, with two tablespoons sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Carefully remove the paper from the cooled meringue disk, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Using a large pancake turner will help as the meringue is fragile. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream. Top whipped cream with strawberries slices. Chill until ready to serve.