I have made this dessert a million times. A million times I love it. I am a HUGE Nigella Lawson fan and I discovered this glorious dessert watching her make it on her show. But sometimes, I forget about things that I love. I’ll fall in love with another dessert and my recipe will fall to the back of the binder temporarily. So when I read this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge, I dusted off my Pavlova recipe and fell in love all over again.
The thing about this dessert is that you can change it up a bunch of different ways. You can make a chocolate based pavlova and top it with ganache and berries. Or whipped cream and pomegranate seeds like Nigella makes for Christmas. Let your imagination go wild. I like to make the meringue in the morning and then get the rest of the ingredients together right before I am going to serve it. You can make big Pavlovas or individual ones as well. The thing that I love about a Pavlova is the texture of the meringue. The outside is crispy and the inside is soft and gooey like a marshmallow.
Some of my favorite summer parties have ended in Pavlova. Just as this one did. The thing about being a food blogger and a dinner guest is that sometimes you are having so much fun that you forget to take pretty pictures of the finished product. Oops. So please excuse the crappy finished product photos. I swear that it was beautiful and super delicious.
Whisk together the cornstarch and sugar in a bowl. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.
In the bowl of the mixer, add a pinch of salt to the room temperature egg whites. Start the mixer slowly.
When the eggs start to get some volume, slowly add the sugar.
I put my vinegar and vanilla together in a cup and slowly pour it in.
The eggs are done when they are glossy and bright white.
On a piece of parchment paper, use something round for a stencil. Use a pencil and trace around the object. Turn the paper over. (This is very important as you do not want to put the meringue on graphite. Not yummy.)
Spoon the meringue onto your guide. I try to keep mine uniform, but the beauty of this dessert is its imperfection. The meringue is going to crack. The tops will fall. I do like to pile mine pretty high with meringue. I want a nice firm base for the rest of the delicious things that are going on it to sit on.
Put the meringues into the oven and turn the heat down to 225 degrees. You want them to dry out, but not change color. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, then turn the oven off and leave in the oven for another hour.
This is the baked meringue. My favorite way to eat a Pavlova is with freshly whipped cream and berries. But this lemon filling took it over the top. It counteracted the sweetness from the meringue and gave this dessert a new dimension. I cannot wait to make it again.
The June 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard