Delicate and refreshing, pavlova is an ideal sweet summer treat. This elegant dessert made of a delicate meringue crust topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit was named after Anna Pavlova, the famous Russian ballet dancer. Carefully beating eggs for a meringue shell and whipping cream until it’s fluffy and thick are tasks that sometimes frustrate even the most practiced cooks. Strategies such as using egg whites that are at room temperature before whisking them and chilling your whipping cream, whisk and bowl can help you create a perfect pavlova.
Meringue Shell - Preheat the oven to 350 F. Trace a 9-inch circle onto non-stick baking paper with a pencil.
Line your cookie sheet with the non-stick baking paper with the pencil circle facing down. Put aside.
Whisk 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar and 1/8 tsp. salt into 1/2 cup room-temperature egg whites in a large bowl until foamy.
Add 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 tsp. cornstarch, 1/2 tsp. vinegar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract and continue whipping the egg white mixture until it is stiff, smooth and slightly shiny in appearance. This should take between 8 and 10 minutes.
Spoon the egg white mixture carefully into the circle you drew on the baking paper and use the back of a spoon to smooth the top and sides. Use a spoon or a rubber spatula to form an indentation in the middle of the egg white mixture. Make sure the indentation will be large enough to accommodate the whipped cream and fruit topping after the meringue crust is baked.
Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 F and bake until the meringue is lightly browned, about 45 minutes. The meringue should be crisp and dry on the outside.
Cool for another 30 minutes in the oven with the oven door slightly ajar, until the meringue reaches room temperature. Cooling the meringue gradually helps to prevent it from cracking and breaking.
FILLING - Wash, peel and thinly slice 1/2 cup kiwi. Put aside. Wash and cut the stems off strawberries. Thinly slice 1/2 cup strawberries. Put aside. Place a metal or glass mixing bowl and a metal whisk in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Pour the whipping cream into the chilled bowl and add 2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar. Whip the cream and brown sugar together with the whisk until stiff peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream onto the meringue crust. Smooth it out using a rubber spatula.
Arrange the strawberry and kiwi slices on top of the whipped cream. You can alternate the slices of fruit, or put one type of fruit on the outer edge of the whipped cream and the other fruit slices in the center. Slice with a serrated knife and serve immediately.