Two doyennes of home cooking’s recipes are combined in one spectacular dessert.
Ina Garten gives great credit to her Easthampton neighbor, Martha Stewart for launching Ina’s publishing career. They met when Ina was still running her food store, The Barefoot Contessa. It was Martha who put Ina in touch with an editor when Ina wrote her first book. Whether they’ve ever cooked together, we do not know. What we do know is that we put together this luscious concoction of whipped cream and meringue topped with beautiful berries, we had a winner. Martha provided the method of creating single-serving Pavlovas. Ina supplied the recipe for the berries. Although it is hardly berry season yet here, the food shops are filled with glorious berries of every description—raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. So we couldn’t wait to celebrate.
What is a pavlova and where did this beautiful dessert come from?
When Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926, the Pavlova was created in her honor. Pavlova was most recognized for her creation of the role of The Dying Swan and, with her own ballet company, she became the first ballerina around the world. When you look at a finished Pavlova, you can see the resemblance: the meringue looks like a tutu. Both Australia and New Zealand lay claim to its invention and the dispute over which country is truly the mother of the dessert rages on. We prefer not to rage over dessert, especially one this rich and this satisfying. You will, however, often find Kiwis in the New Zealand recipe.
Why individual Pavlovas when a large one is so spectacular?
There’s no question that a large and beautiful Pavlova is spectacular when presented at the dinner table. But once sliced, it loses a lot of its looks. The meringue cracks apart and the whole thing looks like one big mess on the table. Making them individually gives you a perfect presentation.
If you’ve never made a meringue, don’t be intimidated.
A few pointers and you’re on your way. A meringue relies on egg whites reaching their maximum volume. The first step is to make sure your mixing bowl and whisk are clean and free of any grease. Since only the whites are used, the eggs need to be separated. Separating eggs while they are cold makes the process easier.* Once you’ve got the egg whites you need, let them come to room temperature before using them. Allow about 30 minutes. Andrew likes using superfine castor sugar in making meringues because it dissolves faster into the egg whites. If you don’t have castor sugar, you can make your own by putting one cup of sugar into the food processor until it’s very fine in–about 30 to 60 seconds. You can make your Pavlova meringues up to several days in advance of making the final dessert. Simply store them in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. Here’s the recipe, first for the meringue via Martha and next for the fruit topping via Ina. Some other berry desserts are below this recipe.
*We keep the egg yolks in Ziplocs in the freezer—they’re ideal for making ice cream.
Ina Garten and Martha Stewart's Individual Mixed Berry Pavlovas
Luscious whipped cream and meringue topped with fresh berries of every description for an out-of-this-world dessert
- For the meringues:
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the Berry Filling:
- 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1/2 pint fresh blueberries
- 1/2 pint fresh raspberries, hulled
- 1/2 pint fresh blackberries, hulled
- For the Triple Raspberry Sauce:
- 1 half-pint fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup seedless raspberry jam (12-ounce jar)
- 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur
- For the Sweetened Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Step 1 First, make the meringues:
- Step 2 Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Draw four 4-inch circles or one 8-inch circle onto a sheet of parchment paper. Transfer parchment, traced side down, to a baking sheet.
- Step 3 Whisk egg whites and a pinch of salt with a mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With machine running, add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff, glossy peaks form. Sprinkle in vinegar, cornstarch, and vanilla
- Step 4 whisk until just combined.
- Step 5 With a rubber spatula, mound meringue onto parchment in the center of circle or circles. Evenly spread meringue toward edges. Transfer to oven, and immediately reduce temperature to 200 degrees. Bake until meringue lifts off the parchment easily, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Step 6 Turn off the oven. Let the meringues cool completely in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Once the meringues are cool and completely dry, garnish with whipped cream and top with the berry mixture. Serve at once.
- Step 7 To Make the Berry filling: Combine the strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries in a bowl. Set aside.
- Step 8 To Make the Triple Raspberry Sauce
- Step 9 Place the raspberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth.
- Step 10 Andrew goes an extra mile here by using a fine sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. Chill.
- Step 11 To Make the Sweetened Whipped Cream
- Step 12 Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don’t overbeat!
- Step 13 To Assemble the Pavlovas: Toss the berries with the Triple Raspberry Sauce.
- Step 14 Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately with extra raspberry sauce.