This sophisticated dessert is light, and perfect for a Fourth of July party. They are fun and easy to make, and almost as beautiful to look at as they are delicious to eat.
Makes 4 pavlovas
- 3 egg whites
- 1 ½ cup castor sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
- 7 drops blue food coloring (optional)*
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- lemon-raspberry balsamic reduction
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
For Lemon-Raspberry Balsamic Reduction:
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- scant 1/3 cup sugar
- ¼ cup raspberry jam
- The zest and juice of one large lemon
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 5-7 drops of red food coloring (optional)*
*When it is not Fourth of July, food coloring is obviously not needed. (We did not add enough of the blue food coloring when we made it, so we adjusted the recipe so you get a nice red-white-and-blue dessert.)
- Preheat oven to 300o. Line one cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Use the top of a martini glass to trace four circles on the parchment paper to use as guides for the pavlova. Flip the paper over, so that no graphite gets into the meringue.
1. Combine the vinegar, sugar, jam, zest, juice, and red food coloring in a saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally. At this stage, it will smell bad and very vinegary. Don't worry, it tastes good!
2. When the meringue shells come out of the oven remove from the heat, and stir in the corn syrup.
1. Combine the egg whites, castor sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and blue food coloring in a mixer, and beat on the highest setting until stiff peaks form.
2. Transfer meringue to a pastry bag and construct the shells. This is where those nifty circles come in. Starting with the outside edge, use concentric circles to form a base. Then, place two layers of circles around the edge of the top of the base to form the walls. Use any extra meringue to make small cookies (they should be about the size of bon-bons. Make them really in any shape you like, just so long as they aren't too thin, and they are about one inch in diameter.)
3. Place the cookie sheet with the shells in the oven and bake for about 25-30 min. (If you made cookies, put them in the oven for the last 10 min). After this time has elapsed, turn off the oven, leaving the meringues inside for another 20 min or so.
4. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
5. For whipped cream, combine the cream and powdered sugar in a mixer, and beat on a high setting, until soft peaks form. Set aside.
6. Slice the strawberries and combine in a medium sized bowl with the blueberries.
8. Remove the shells from the cookie sheet, and transfer to plates. Fill each shell with the whipped cream, and top with the berries. Serve immediately.
9. Devour hungrily like the ravenous beast you are.