A Strawberry Pavlova is one of summer's great desserts! Crisp and snowy on the outside and marshmallow-like on the inside, the topping is lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh local strawberries. Because the berries are left whole and unsweetened, the flavours are the purest you'll ever taste, layered with cream and soft meringue.
When it is inverted and the parchment is removed, the Pavlova will fall a bit and it becomes a cinch to fill and to serve. It needs absolutely no garnish.
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup (250 mL) superfine (castor/fruit) sugar
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch
- 2 tsps (10 mL) white vinegar
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups (250-375 mL) whipping cream 35%
- 2 tsps (10 mL) superfine sugar
- 4 cups (1 L) fresh hulled strawberries
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Beat the egg whites till stiff enough to hold soft peaks. Slowly beat in the sugar a few spoonfuls at a time. This will take 2 to 3 minutes. The resulting meringue will be shiny and soft. Sift the cornstarch over it, sprinkle with the vinegar and, using a spatula, very lightly fold it together.
Mound the meringue onto the centre of the prepared pan. With a spatula spread it to an 8" (20 cm) circle, smoothing the top and the sides. Bake in a preheated 250F (120C) oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan. Store in an airtight container or use immediately.
To fill, whip the cream (use more if you love it like we do) with the sugar until stiff. Place the serving dish over the pavlova and gently invert. Peel off the parchment carefully. The smooth bottom becomes the top of the dessert and reveals the marshmallow-y centre. Spoon the whipped cream over the entire surface. Arrange the fresh fruit on top. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
SOURCE: Recipe adapted from Anita Stewart's CANADA: the Food, the Recipes, the Stories (Harper Collins Canada 2008)
Anita Stewart, a Canadian culinary historian and communicator, passed in October 2020- just a couple months after generously sharing this recipe with Berry Growers of Ontario. She was the Food Laureate at the University of Guelph and a Member of the Order of Canada. Founder of Food Day Canada, the country's largest culinary festival, Anita Stewart was also the author of more than a dozen culinary books which explore Canadian cuisine in all its diversity and innovation. She attributed much of her success to living in small-town Ontario and to the culinary community across Canada that brings together food producers and home cooks and celebrates the ingredients of this extraordinary nation.
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