Though I’m not a huge fan of the Summer heat, the amazing farmers market produce more than makes up for it. Last week I picked up a huge container of blackberries that nearly made me cry tears of joy when I tasted them. Naturally, this fourth of July I had to incorporate them in my berry dessert, even though I usually use blueberries for a more patriotic holiday look.
The dessert I chose for our celebration is extremely easy to make – even for those who aren’t experienced bakers. In fact, if you can operate a mixer, this dessert will be a piece of cake (pun totally intended) for you.
Historically, Pavlovas were “invented” in New Zealand in the 1920′s during the famous ballerina, Anna Pavlova’s tour of New Zealand and Australia. Inspired by her fluffy tutu, the dessert consists of a meringue base filled with whipped cream and topped with fruit.
Here’s what you’ll need:
2 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
whipped cream (to save time you can use canned whipped cream)
your choice of berries
hand or stand mixer
clean, dry bowl for mixing
parchment paper or silpat
pastry bag and large star tip (I used Wilton 1M)
1. Line your cookie sheet with the parchment or silpat and preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. For perfectly round meringue shells, draw the circles on the underside of the parchment. Set aside.
2. In your clean, dry bowl (I specify this because even a drop of grease or moisture will keep your egg whites from stiffening properly. Glass or metal bowls work best) beat the egg whites at medium speed until they look like foamy soap bubbles.
3. Add the pinch of cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks. The foam will look like shaving foam. Reduce speed to low and add the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
4. Increase speed to high and beat to glossy, stiff peaks. Don’t overbeat. To test the meringue, put some on a spoon and flip it upside down. If it holds its shape and doesn’t drop off the spoon, it’s ready.
5. Prepare the pastry bag and carefully spoon the meringue into it, being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Pipe two to three inch circles onto the parchment, then pipe a lip around the edge to hold in the filling and berries.
5. Bake at 225 degrees for one hour to an hour and a half, until the meringue shells are dry to the touch. Turn the heat off and allow them to stay in the oven for another hour without opening the oven door.
6. Remove the shells from the oven and continue to cool on a wire rack. Fill cooled shell with a little whipped cream, and top with berries.
Happy fourth of July!