Rose is back in full swing and there was a dinner party on the schedule. Would I bring wine and…there was a pause…I knew what was coming…
There was only minimal begging involved before I acquiesced. Sure, okay, why not. So in between bouts of cleaning out my closet — again, but this time for realz, where I actually get rid of stuff not just rearrange it in my closet…but more on that later — I made Pavlova.
Pavlova is one of those desserts, like Summer Pudding, which feel incredibly light and summer. In fact, with the fruit cradled in puffs of cream, they’re actually almost like eating summer; brights bursts of sunshine-y fruit in soft cool clouds. (Of course, once you add up all the whipped cream involved, they are not at all light but hey, it’s the idea that counts.). Pavlova’s especially good after a heavy meal, like the Paella that Rose was planning. And besides, it’s ridiculously easy. Even easier if you have a stand mixer, so you can leave the work of whipping up the egg whites to a machine. It’s also a perfect summer dessert given that the oven’s on really low. In summer you really do not want to be turning up the oven. Bake it up late at night, when things have cooled off a bit and then let it dry out in the oven all night. Also even though it’s kind of a grown up dessert, kids go nuts for it.
What’s not to love?
I got to Rose’s and everyone was in the kitchen. A few people I knew. More people I didn’t. How does it happen that you know someone for so long and they’re always coming up with new people to introduce you to?
We had a salad of peppery argula, pomegrante seeds, goat cheese and a lemony vinagrette. The paella had chicken and spicy sausage and mussels and clams. There was lots of red wine and white wine and a cocktail of vodka and ginger beer and mint and we finished the Pavlova as we sat around and talked and drank and Saturday night turned into Sunday morning.
And, thankfully, I am not hungover this morning.
For when you feel like something light and easy
- 6 egg whites
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and using the piece you’ll be serving the Pavlova on, draw a circle. Turn the parchment paper over so the circle is on the reverse side.
Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks.
Gradually add the sugar, a little bit at a time, and continue beating the egg whites until they hold very stiff and shiny peaks. Voila, meringue!
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and give it one last go round with the mixer to fold it in.
Spread the meringue just inside the circle you’ve drawn. Some people like to pipe it out with a pastry bag but I just use my trusty silicon spatula and blop it on the paper and then smoosh it out to the edges and then, using the spatula and my fingers (yes, my fingers), I pull up the edges so that they’re slightly higher than the center to get a modified crown shape.
Bake for about an hour to an hour and a half until the outside is dry and a very pale cream color.
Turn the oven off and, leaving the oven door slightly ajar, let the meringue cool. The outside may crack a little (annoying) but the inside will be soft and marshmallowy.
Just before serving, fill the middle with whipped cream and fruit.
Or, if you’re like me, you can go overboard and serve mango sorbet on the side.