Pavlova With Strawberries And Elderflower Whipped Cream
Normally I don’t post 2 days in a row, but today is the summer soltice which happens to also fall on the same day as the full moon, the strawberry moon, a once in a lifetime occurrence the last time this happened was in 1948, so to celebrate I made Pavlova, an ethereal, light and beautiful dessert, I used strawberries in honor of the strawberry moon and they happen to be at their peak now. I’ve never made one before, I’ve seen them all over blogs and food websites and it’s been on my bucket list for a while now. After making the rhubarb cordial I have been thinking of different ways to use it besides in drinks. This dessert came to mind, pavlova with strawberries that are macerated in the rhubarb cordial piled onto the meringue layer and topped with whipped cream that is gently flavored with elderflower. I found so many recipes online for the meringue and believe it or not they all varied in cooking temp, ranging from 180 degrees up to 300. I opted for Ina Gartens recipe which bakes at the lower temp of 180, I didn’t want it to brown but to stay white.
It is a dreamy dessert, beautiful to look at, I love the way the layers are each a little different making it just a little off, slightly cracked, perfect in it’s imperfection. It is elegant and delicious. If I sound smitten it’s because I am. Strawberry and rhubarb are a great combination and although this contains only a rhubarb liquor the flavor though subtle is still there. This is a decidedly adult dessert, and if you don’t happen to have any of the rhubarb cordial, macerating the strawberries in sugar is delicious and will be family friendly or you do not have to macerate the berries, slicing and layering on the cake is perfectly fine. The lovely syrup that the strawberries were sitting in is then drizzled over the finished cake when served. The recipe was delicious as it was but next time I would make a few minor changes.
4 extra large egg whites at room temperature (I used large eggs)
pinch of kosher salt
1 cup sugar (Next time I will use 3/4 cup sugar)
2 tsp corn starch (I would increase the cornstarch to 3 tsp)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
Slice some strawberries and sprinkle with sugar, I poured a scant 1/2 cup of rhubarb cordial on them and macerated for an hour or two. Remove strawberries, drain in sieve over a bowl and set aside, save the rhubarb syrup it’s wonderful drizzled on the pavlova.
Pre heat the oven to 180 degree’s or the lowest setting on your oven. Prepare a sheet pan by lining with parchment and draw circles 8 inch round on the parchment and turn over so the pencil or pen is not touching the batter, or do as I did and use three 8 inch parchment rounds (had to use a half and quarter sheet pan) I wanted 3 thinner layers rather than one thick layer.
Put the egg whites in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the pinch of salt and whip until they are thick and foamy, slowly add the sugar about a tbs at a time and beat them until they are glossy and stiff (about 2-3 minutes). Fold the corn starch and vanilla into the egg whites. Spoon onto the parchment rounds and smooth. Bake for 1 1/2 hours turn off the oven and leave in the oven until completely cooled. I liked using the parchment rounds because it was very easy to peel them off the meringue rounds.
Whip the cream, add the sugar and vanilla and if you have a tsp of elderflower syrup. I used 1 cup of heavy cream, a generous tbs of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.
Place a meringue round on serving plate or cake stand. Spoon some of the strawberries on and top and some whipped cream. Place the other meringue round on top, repeat and top with last meringue, spoon some of the whipped cream on top and decorate with berries.