With a light, crispy base and pillowy whipped cream, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be making pavlova all summer long. When the cooler months have us craving more comforting treats laden with caramel sauce or decadent ganache, summer calls for something on the lighter side. A crispy baked meringue is the perfect vehicle for sweetened cream and seasonal fruit. This recipe in particular calls for almond cream, fresh cherries, and a shower of chocolate shavings, but feel free to change up the flavor of the cream and use your favorite fruit. Vanilla bean or even basil whipped cream would go perfectly with sun-ripened berries and late-summer stone fruit.
Cherry Pavolva with almond cream and chocolate shavings
For the Meringue
1 cup superfine or granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 vanilla bean, seed removed
4 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon baking mat and set aside.
Combine the sugar, corn starch, and vanilla bean seeds together and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, begin beating the eggs whites on medium-low speed until they begin to foam. Gradually add in the sugar mixture while increasing the speed to medium-high.
Once all of the sugar mixture has been added, turn the mixer up to high and continue to beat until the egg whites are glossy hold stiff peaks.
Spread or pipe the meringue into an 8-inch diameter circle on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the meringue so that it forms the shape of a large, shallow bowl.
Bake the meringue in the pre-heated oven for 75 to 90 minutes. it should be dry, crisp and light when done. Turn the oven off and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the meringue to completely cool and can be easily removed from the parchment or baking mat.
For the Almond Cream
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, cold
3 to 4 tablespoons superfine or granulated sugar, or to taste
½ teaspoon almond extract, or to taste
Using an electric mixer, beat the cold cream on medium-high. Once the cream begins to thicken, slowly add in the sugar and beat on high. Continue to beat the cream until soft peaks. Add the almond and beat until incorporated (about 15 seconds). Be careful not to over-whip the cream or it may turn grainy.
About 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
1 to 2 ounces dark chocolate for shaving
Spoon the almond cream into the center of the baked meringue. Top with a generous amount of cherries and chocolate shavings. Best served within about 20 minutes.