“The right to happiness is fundamental.” — Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina
This lovely, ethereal dessert was created for Anna Pavlova, the most famous ballerina of her time. It is a delicious meringue nest, with a bit of crunch on the outside and a creamy, marshmallow-like inside, holding berries and cream. It is a fleeting bit of happiness.
It also is a gluten-free, grain-free way to enjoy the berries of late summer. The blackberry canes at my house are producing a bumper crop — at least a pint a day — and the second round of raspberries is beginning to come in. The Pavlova is a unique way to enjoy those luscious berries.
Things that are good to know about egg whites: Any moisture in the mixing bowl or on the beater can cause the whites not to whip; older egg whites whip better; egg whites at room temperature whip better; pasteurized egg whites in the carton don’t really work for this meringue; and these cooked meringues can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to five days.
This recipe is adapted from one by Shuna Fish Lydon, author of “Eggbeaters.”
6 egg whites at room temperature
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoon tapioca flour
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pints berries
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 tablespoon berry liqueur
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar and tapioca flour and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt at a medium-low speed for two to three minutes, then increase the speed to medium-high. When the egg whites begin to thicken, slowly add the sugar mixture. Continue to beat at medium-high speed and, as glossy peaks begin to form, add the vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form when the beater is withdrawn from the egg white mixture.
Spoon eight equal amounts onto the parchment paper and create a depression in each meringue to make a nest for the berries.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 255 degrees. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. If the meringues begin to brown or crack, reduce the heat further and rotate the baking sheet.
Cool on a rack.
Place the cream in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed until it begins to thicken. Then, slowly add the sugar, then the vanilla, and beat to your desired texture. I like the cream softer for this dessert. Store the whipped cream, covered, in the refrigerator until the pavlovas will be served.
When the meringues are completely cooled, top each with one-eighth of the berries and a dollop of the whipped cream.
Приятного аппетита! Bon appétit!
The next meeting of the Carson City Gluten-free Discussion Group will be Monday, Oct. 14. Please email Susan if you’d like more information.
Susan Hart has been cooking gluten-free for 17 years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.