Strawberry almond pavlova

Happy (belated) Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians out there! I was at work, while Mr. Chuckles enjoyed a nice bank holiday at home and spent the entire day cooking up our Canada Day feast. The star was the smoked brisket which he slaved over for nine hours, but I’m going to share the recipe for our dessert.

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert typically topped with cream and fresh fruit. Named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, it is thought to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours in Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Given its origin, the pavlova is a particularly popular dessert in Australasia, but it is enjoyed across the pond as well – perfect for a hot summer day to take advantage of our seasonal strawberries. The colours were even appropriate for our national holiday! ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

Recipe

Adapted from Serious Eats here and here.

Servings: 1 nine-inch single layer cake | Prep time: 50 minutes | Ready time: 3 hours

Ingredients

Meringue cake
  • 1ยฝ cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • ยฝ cup ground almonds
  • ยฝ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 pints strawberries, washed, sliced
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • Confectioners’ sugar to dust cake
Lemon syrup
  • 2ยฝ cups “used” lemon rinds, from 6 medium lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
Lemon chantilly
  • ยฝ cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • ยผ cup fresh lemon syrup, cold
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

Steps

Prepare the lemon syrup.

1) Cut each lemon into a few chunks and toss with sugar in a large glass, ceramic, or stainless steel mixing bowl. Cover tightly and let stand at room temperature, stirring once every 45 minutes or so, until sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 hours.

2) Using a cheesecloth-lined or fine-mesh stainless steel strainer set over a nonreactive bowl, strain syrup. Working in batches, transfer rinds to a stainless steel potato ricer and squeeze to release any extra syrup, allowing it to pass through strainer into bowl; discard rinds. Keep refrigerated in a glass bottle until ready for use.

Prepare the meringue cake.

3) Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 285ยฐF. Grease and sugar the sides of two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. You will make two cake layers, one of which can be saved for a second portion.

4) In small bowl, whisk 1ยฝ cups sugar with cornstarch; set aside. Place egg whites in a clean, dry bowl of standing mixer fitted with whip attachment. Beat on medium speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and salt. Increase speed to medium high and beat to soft peak.

5) With mixer running, slowly add sugar/cornstarch mixture. Continue to beat to stiff peak, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in ground almonds with rubber spatula.

6) Divide the meringue between the pans and smooth the tops. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top. Bake until the colour of the meringues is light beige and the top feels crisp, but the centre is still soft, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer pans to wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the lemon chantilly.

7) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine cream, lemon syrup, and zest. Whip at medium-high speed until fluffy and thick, about 5 minutes.

Assemble the pavlova.

8) While meringues are cooling, toss strawberries with 1 tablespoon sugar.

9) Run knife along inside edge of pans and carefully invert meringues onto plates. Place one meringue on serving plate, top side up. The second meringue can be stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours.

10) Spread the lemon chantilly onto the meringue and top with strawberries including juice. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿณ Notes from Mr. Chuckles

This one took a lot of time and work, but turned out deliciously. It’s quite the looker, too. If you’re feeling ambitious and hungry, you can construct this as a layered cake using the second meringue, dividing the cream and strawberries between the two layers.

Our meringue was a touch soft and gummy in the centre, so you may need to play around with the bake time to get that perfect crispy texture.

This is an ideal dessert to serve with Ontario strawberries, now in season!