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Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2½ hours
Cool time: 3 hours
Linda Halsey of Rialto was looking for a recipe for Pavlova, a meringue-based dessert.
Pavlova is the national dessert of Australia and is named after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. This dessert consists of a crispy meringue shell filled with cream and fruit. This recipe comes from “Women’s Day Desserts” by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley and the editors of Women’s Day (Viking Penguin, 1997, $25.95, 350 pages).
Whites of 4 large eggs, room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2½ teaspoons cornstarch
¾ cup superfine granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups regular, reduced-fat or nonfat sour cream
2 cups small ripe strawberries, rinsed and hulled, if desired
1¼ cups fresh raspberries, picked over and rinsed
1 cup fresh blueberries, picked over and rinsed
Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Draw an 8-inch circle on the waxed paper (Or trace an 8-inch salad plate onto plain paper and slide the pattern between the waxed paper and cookie sheet. Use this pattern as a guide when spreading the meringue. Remove paper pattern before baking.)
Make the meringue: In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted.
Stir the cornstarch into the sugar. Very gradually add the sugar mixture to the egg whites, beating until stiff and glossy peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Beat in the vanilla until blended.
Spread the meringue with the back of a spoon over the outlined circle to cover, building up the edge to form a rim about 2 inches high and 2 inches wide.
Bake until the meringue is firm and dry to the touch but not browned, 2 to 2 ½ hours. Turn off the oven. Prop the oven door open with the handle of a wooden spoon and let the meringue cool completely, at least 3 hours. The meringue can be kept loosely covered at room temperature up to 3 days or frozen airtight up to 2 months.
Carefully peel off the waxed paper. Transfer the meringue to a serving plate. Fill the center with the sour cream. In a medium-sized bowl, gently mix the berries together and spoon over the sour cream. Serve right away.