Patriotic Pavlova

We’re revving up for all the Fourth of July festivities with this firework-inspired finale!

In my Patriotic Pavlova, sweet summer blueberries and rich cream float a top a crunchy chewy meringue and set sail in a sea of raspberry sauce. The dessert is as simple as it is stunning: with only a few fresh ingredients the dish requires very little attention and can be easily assembled during a dinner-to-dessert lull.

The recipe bellow serves 6, but can be easily doubled for a holiday-size crowd. It would be wonderful served with a glass of Sauterne or any sparkling dessert wine.

With all the food driven fetes this weekend, a single dish could get lost in the mix. But these Patriotic Pavlovas provide a truly special finish that’s sure to standout…

May it burn bright in your guests’ mouths and memories.

Patriotic Pavlova
Serves 6

5 large egg whites
pinch fine salt
1 cup superfine caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Raspberry Cream and Sauce
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 pint organic raspberries
1 teaspoon agave nectar

Blueberry Balsamic Compote
1 pint organic blueberries
dash balsamic vinegar
pinch of brown sugar
sprinkling of salt

Sugar Spirals
1 – 1 1/2 cups caster sugar

*Note: I made mine by hand because, well, sometimes I am a glutton for punishment, but the recipe bellow using a standing mixer. Trust me- USE IT!

1. Preheat oven to 250 F
2. Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on a medium speed till soft peaks form.
3. Sift and combine the sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Then begin adding the dry mixture to the egg whites in 3 parts, whisking to combine between each inclusion.
4. Continue to whisk the egg white mixture until hard peaks form. Check the meringue by taking a small dollop between your fingers. Feel if the mixture is smooth. If it feels at all granular, continue to whisk on the machine until the sugar and starch is fully dissolved.

5. When combined, fold in the white wine vinegar and vanilla extract just until incorporated.
6. Spoon two tablespoons of the meringue onto a spray greased silpat mat on a baking tray, or onto a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving space between each mound. about 6 per baking tray.

7. Bake meringues on a middle to low oven rack for about 1 hr and 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hrs or until the outside is completely crisp. Don’t worry if the surface cracks a little.

8. Turn the oven off and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Let the meringues cool completely and dry out slowly inside the oven for 1 hour.

9. Remove meringues and store covered at room temperature. Can be prepared 2 days in advance depending on the humidity.

For the berry sauces:
1. While the meringues are baking, place the washed raspberries in a bowl with the agave nectar. You can add a pinch of sugar if your raspberries are quite tart. Let stand covered in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes.
2. Place the washed blueberries in a separate bowl along with the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and salt and let stand covered in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes.

3. Remove berry bowls and lightly crush the blueberries to release some of their juice, bruising about half and leaving the other half of the berries in tact. Reserve covered in the fridge until ready to serve.
4. Using a potato masher crush all raspberries and stir to combine. You can leave some raspberries intact here creating a chunky puree that can be lightly folded into the cream to create a marbled effect in your dessert.

The other option is to fully crush the berries into a puree, and pass it through a fine mesh sieve, removing all seeds. Taste the remaining juice to make sure it is sweet enough and reserve covered in the fridge.

For the cream
1. Whisk the heavy whipping cream to soft peak, add 4 tablespoon of the raspberry puree and fold to desired incorporation (visibly running through or uniform and pink).

To assemble…

Place 1 meringue in the center of a shallow bowl. Top with the raspberry cream and spoon 1 tablespoon of leftover raspberry sauce around the perimeter of the meringue. Spoon the blueberry compote on top of the cream and finish with a decorative strawberry, raspberry, or sugar spirals. Mint would make a beautiful topper as well.

For the adventurous or seasoned chefs…

To make the sugar spirals:

1. Make a direct caramel, by placing the caster sugar directly in a clean sauce pot over high heat. Bring to a light caramel and remove from heat, place the sauce pot on a kitchen towel next to a silpat mat or piece of parchment paper.
2. Test the consistency of the caramel with a tablespoon. You are looking for it to cool to the point where it drips slowly and seems to harden mid stream.
3. Working quickly, use your spoon to pull the dripping caramel from the sauce pot immediately over a round knife sharpening sword or a round handle of a metal spoon. You will want to quickly spiral the caramel around the round handle until it hardens. Gently remove it and place on the mat bellow to cool. These will keep for a few hours depending on the humidity.

Because baby, you’re a firework!

Darcy Jones

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