Pavlova with Strawberries and Whipped Cream (a Naturally Gluten Free Dessert)
This beautiful dessert is sort of like a cloud of crunchy-soft marshmallow, only better, especially with the addition of fresh fruit and whipped cream. Its sophisticated looks belie the simplicity of making it; whip up a handful of ingredients, bake them in the oven, then add toppings. Edible flowers would send this gluten-free pavlova way over the top in the best possible way. Skip the whipped cream or use vegan whipped cream and it’s dairy-free too!
This classicly delicious dessert recipe is super-easy to prepare and takes only a little time to set in a warm oven and then cool completely. Top with whipped cream and strawberries right before serving for a show-stopping finish, or opt for other ripe, seasonal fruit, like peaches or blueberries and raspberries.
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- 1 cup superfine sugar (see note)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled, halved and sliced about 2 cups
- 1 tablespoon sugar
For Whipped Cream
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites and beat, starting on low and gradually increasing to high, until the whites start to turn glossy and form peaks. Gradually add in sugar and beat until the meringue is shiny with stiff peaks.
Gently fold in by hand the cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla.
Scoop the meringue onto the parchment, shape it within the circle, use a spatula to smooth out the sides and top, then make a shallow well in the center to hold the strawberries.
Reduce oven temperature to 200°F and immediately place meringue in the oven. Bake for 90 minutes. Without opening the oven door, turn off the oven, leaving the meringue inside; let cool completely, 1 to 2 hours.
Prepare the topping: in a glass bowl, stir together the strawberries and sugar, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
In a clean bowl of a stand mixer (or with a bowl and whisk) whip the cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla. Continue to beat until your desired whipped cream consistency, being careful not to overbeat.
Assemble the pavlova: Place the pavlova on a serving platter, spoon a generous amount of whipped cream into the well of meringue, then top with the strawberries, allowing some of the juice to drizzle over the edge. Slice into wedges and serve immediately.
If you don’t have superfine sugar, pulse regular sugar in blender or food processor until fine and powdery.