Pavlova with Almond Whipped Cream & Berries
Is there anything more welcoming than a cloud-like cake filled with whipped cream and berries to bring spring to the table (even if it’s a little early)?
A pavlova is simply a large meringue, made with egg whites and sugar and baked. It gets its name from the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova, because it’s as light and airy as she was on her feet. If you like meringues, with their crisp exterior and marshmallowy-pillowy interior, this stunning dessert is a must-make.
Pavlovas are showstoppingly beautiful, and the good news is, they are easy to create. Just be sure there are no bits of egg yolk in your whites and that the sugar is fully dissolved into the egg whites. The top of the pavlova may cave from the weight of your fruit, but no matter; it still tastes just as delicious. While a pavlova is a dessert, it is very low in sugar and I think it makes a lovely addition to a brunch table as well.
Natalie of Good Girl Style joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just egg whites, nuts, and fruit. Don’t miss her sprinkle-filled Rice Krispie treats.
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 pint blueberries
- ½ pint raspberries
- ½ pint strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a large baking sheet, and on the opposite side, trace a circle around a 7-inch baking pan to make a guide for your meringue. Turn over the parchment paper on the baking sheet so the marked side is down, and set aside.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then add the sugar slowly until it is completely dissolved (feel the mixture between your fingers to be sure it is smooth) and the egg whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Whip in the vanilla extract. Then pour the vinegar on top of the mixture and sprinkle in the cornstarch, and fold in with a rubber spatula until incorporated. Smooth the mixture into a mound on your parchment paper within the circle. Make the sides slightly higher than the middle to make a little indent for the toppings. Bake for approximately 60 minutes, until dry to the touch and slightly golden. Turn off the oven, prop the door open a bit, and let the pavlova cool completely.
- Whip the cream with the sugar and almond extract. Spread on top of the cooled pavlova. Top with berries. Cut and serve immediately.