I love making this dessert for the 4th of July or any patriotic holiday. When the kids were young, we would always get together with two other families. The families would take turns in which house we would meet. Then, there was dinner, something Americana. We would combine each family’s firework stash and make elaborate shows in front on the street. Well, they were as elaborate as one can be in California with restrictions due to fire hazards. There was always a Grand Finale of the best few fireworks picked by the men previously. For dessert, I remember at our house, we would often have root beer floats. Yum! Now, that everyone is older, I can make something more sophisticated. But don’t let the name fool you, it is a simple dessert that you can make ahead and do the finishing touches after dinner.
I like listening to music while I cook. My Uncle Ignacio loved music. Tío Ignacio lived in Argentina. My aunt was a classically trained pianist. She would always play in the evening right before bed. Tío Ignacio had a large collection of vinyls. He was a connoisseur of jazz, The Boston Pops and military marches. Kind of eclectic. I remember on Sunday mornings, he always had military marches blazing on his stereo. Stars and Stripes Forever would blast its way through the house. To this day, I love playing military marches and I think of him fondly.
The red and white and blue of this pavlova is perfect for a celebration. It’s gluten free and light. I think it’s great fun to make. I hope you will find this to be so, too.
4 large Egg Whites, at room temperature (See tip below*)
1 Cup Sugar
2 tsp. Cornstarch
1 tsp. White Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 pint fresh Strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 pint fresh Blueberries
1/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Tbl. Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Using a 9-inch plate, draw a circle with a pencil on a piece of parchment paper. Lightly butter a sheet pan. Place the parchment paper, pencil side down on the pan. This is a guide for your meringue.
Using the bowl of an electric mixer, beat on high Egg Whites and Salt with the whisk attachment. Beat until firm. Slowly add Sugar while continuing to beat, until firm with shiny peaks.
Sift the Cornstarch into the Egg Whites.
Add the Vinegar and Vanilla and fold gently with a spatula.
Place meringue in the circle on the parchment paper. Spread within the circle with the spatula as even as possible. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven and keep it in there for 1 more hour until cool. Invert the meringue onto a plate.
While meringue is cooking, place sliced Strawberries and Blueberries in a bowl with the juice of 1 Lemon and 1/4 cup Sugar. Stir and refrigerate until ready to use.
Whip the Cream, Sugar and Vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment until firm.
When ready for dessert: Smooth the Whipped Cream over the meringue. Do not completely cover it. Keep the edges free. Place the berries over the Cream and drizzle the juice on top. Serve immediately.
Serves 6. Each servings contains: 345 Calories, 15 grams Fat, 54.2 grams Carbs, 3.8 grams Protein.
Music, you ask? Sousa’s Greatest Hits, of course!
*Tip – I don’t know about you but I will start a recipe only to realize that I forgot to leave the eggs out to reach room temperature. Here’s a trick that I often use. I fill a bowl with hot water and immerse the eggs in the water for a few minutes and that warms them enough to use in the recipe. Thought of this one myself!