Strawberry pavlova

“He always did know how to make the grand gesture. Like when he’d brought her three dozen pink roses to match her rose-colored chiffon prom dress. And then there was the crowning touch, a small box of fresh strawberries dipped in his family’s legendary Vasser chocolate.” Sandra Lee, “The Recipe Box”

Meringues are feather light, sweet and crunchewy. What’s not to like?

I had never made strawberry pavlova before. But, sometimes, one simply needs to stretch one’s culinary wings.

The meringue is hiding under a dip of strawberry ice cream and fresh berries. The non-dairy members of the family had coffee nice cream.

The meringues (similar to the outside layers of the more commonly known macaron) turned out fine. Maybe not New York City fine, but fine enough for a birthday dinner in Appalachia. We tucked in, every dessert fork making a satisfying crunch not unlike boots on ice-glazed snow.

If you’d like to experiment, too, here is how to do it:

Strawberry Pavlova

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Put three egg whites in a large mixing bowl and bring them to room temperature. Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until they form peaks like whipped cream, but not so long that they lose their glisten.

Add 10 Tablespoons of white sugar, one spoon at a time, and mix thoroughly after each addition. (The slowness of this preserves the volume of the mixture.)

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 Tablespoons sugar and fold into the mixture. Don’t over stir.

Drop large spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet and shape into discs. This recipe should make about 10 4-inch rounds.

Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven but leave the door closed and the cookie sheet inside. Let meringue shells continue to dry for 6 hours.

Remove from the oven and store meringues in an airtight container until ready to use. To make pavlovas, top each round with either whipped cream or ice cream (for the dairy free, use nice cream) and fresh or crushed berries.

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