DIY DESSERT: Pavlova

I love poached eggs for breakfast. You already know my favorite way to eat eggs for dinner. But you know what’s just as good? Eggs for dessert.

I love poached eggs for breakfast. You already know my favorite way to eat eggs for dinner. But you know what’s just as good? Eggs for dessert.

I first discovered the meringue miracle known as pavlova in the November 2002 issue of Martha Stewart Living and I’ve been (literally) whipping them up ever since.

I even made a pavlova to serve at my own wedding. That’s because the Australian confection is simultaneously simple and seriously stunning. Yes, you need a mixer (or killer biceps), but the whole thing takes under 5 minutes of active time, and yields a magical dessert that is gorgeous, delicious, truly light as air (which is why it was named after a famous ballerina) and, while it’s a delight to eat naked (the dessert, that is), it’s also a perfect canvas for whatever fruit you’re getting at the Greenmarket, from strawberries to gooseberries. (Plus it can be made a day ahead and happily hang out at room temperature, which basically gives you a super power when it comes to entertaining. Thanks, Martha!)

My version of her recipe is below but in case that doesn’t convey how easy it is, here it is in an eggshell: Whip all the ingredients until soft peaks form, about 10 minutes. Plop onto a cookie sheet and bake til it’s done. Cool, and serve topped with whipped cream, and perhaps some fruit. To really channel Mrs. Stewart, scatter a few edible violets over the top.

They say if you want to make an omelette, you have to crack a few eggs. But I’ve found if you want to separate four eggs, there’s no need to wash your hands four times. Here’s my method: crack all eggs into a bowl, then use one hand to lift out each yolk one at a time and transfer to another bowl, and you’ve got a bowl full of egg whites.

This recipe leaves you with four yolks. That’s the perfect excuse to make fresh mayo, which is my favorite way to eat eggs for lunch.

Pavlova
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Ingredients

  • FOR PAVLOVA:
    • 4 egg whites
    • Pinch of salt
    • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

  • FOR TOPPING:
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine egg whites, salt, and light-brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed until well combined. Increase speed to medium; beat until soft peaks form, about 9 minutes. With mixer running, gradually add sugar. Continue beating until peaks are stiff and glossy, about 2 minutes more. Beat in vinegar and vanilla.

3. Using a rubber spatula, spread the meringue into onto the parchment paper into a circle approximately 8 inches across. Bake until crisp around the edge and just set in the center, about 1 1/4 hours. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack until pavlova is cool enough to handle. Peel off parchment; cool completely on rack.

4. Make whipped cream: In a small bowl, whip heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Slather over top of pavlova, and consider gilding the lily with fresh or macerated fruit. Serve sliced into wedges and take a bow.

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Gabrielle Langholtz is the former editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan.