Submitted by Beth Wittenstein of Cambridge. Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking. She gets her copies of Edible Boston at The Painted Burro or Posto in Davis Square, Somerville. Few egg dishes can be described as crisp, crumbly, or marshmallowy, but pavlova offers all three. A humble concoction of egg whites and sugar, pavlova boasts a soufflé-like center that melts in your mouth enclosed in a crunchy shell. I first made a pavlova “cake” with alternating layers of meringue, whipped cream, fresh fruit, and lemon curd for a family dinner during Passover. This incredibly versatile dessert is an easy and delicious flourless option that can be adorned with any number of toppings.
4 egg whites ½ cup sugar ½ teaspoon white vinegar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon cornstarch, sifted Whipped cream, citrus curd, berries, or shaved chocolate, for serving
Preheat oven to 250° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and using a pencil create the outline of the shapes you’d like your pavolvas to be (ovals or circles work best); flip the parchment over so you can still see the lines but won’t spread the graphite into the meringue. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated. Fold in vinegar and sifted cornstarch.
With a spatula, spoon meringue mixture onto the parchment paper template, smoothing the edges to make them as uniform in size and shape as possible to ensure even baking.
Bake on the center rack of the oven for 60-70 minutes or until the shells are completely dry and turn a pale cream color. Turn off the oven, crack open the door with a wooden spoon, and allow to cool completely inside the oven.
Top with your choice of whipped cream, citrus curd, fresh fruit, or shaved chocolate, and don’t be afraid to stack your pavlovas to make “layer cakes.”