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Monday, July 26, 2010

Thrifty, Light, and Wonderful: Pavlova

Because we make a lot of Caesar salads, we end up with a lot of leftover egg whites. We can't stand to waste them, so we put them in a bag in the freezer, and when we have four or more saved up, we make one of our favorite desserts: Pavlova.

This fruit-topped meringue is easy, cheap, and great in the summertime, because it's light as air. We don't know anybody who doesn't love it.

There are many good recipes for Pavlova, including Fine Cooking's fine recipe for a six-egg-white version, but we tend to use a variation of Nigella Lawson's simply because it's so easy:

Pavlova with Fresh Fruit

4 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 t. cornstarch
1 t. white vinegar (you can also use cider vinegar)
1 t. vanilla
whipped cream
fresh fruit*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Using a mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until satiny peaks form. Beat in the sugar, a third at a time, until the meringue is shiny and stiff.

4. Sprinkle the cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla over the meringue, and briefly mix to combine.

5. Mound the meringue on the baking sheet, forming a rough circle, and flatten to about an inch and a half in height. Place in the oven, and immediately reduce the heat to 300 degrees. Bake for one hour.

6. When the hour is up, turn off the oven, but leave the Pavlova in until the oven has cooled.

7. Place the cooked Pavlova on a big plate, top with whipped cream—this is a matter of taste, but we find that just a light layer works best—and pureed or sliced fruit.

* Any fruit works: strawberries, raspberries, mango, kiwi, passion fruit. We often thaw a bag of frozen raspberries and use that. For the photo above, we didn't have whipping cream, so we mixed fresh strawberries with half-and-half and a little sugar, and that also was good.


  1. It's so pretty! And light...good excuse for eating sweets.

  2. It's pretty guilt-free, too, if you don't pile on the whipped cream... there's no other fat in there!