Where has June gone? It seems like I’ve barely blinked and it’s almost the end of the month, with the fourth of July just around the corner. Strawberries are already winding down here to almost done, and as usual, I don’t feel like I’ve gotten my fill. However, I am extremely pleased I decided to use some of my lovely u-pick strawberries for this incredible three layer Pavlova “cake”.
It was so good; I’ve been kicking myself for not trying it sooner. Every season I swear this is going to be the year I make it, and for what ever reason, I don’t. Damn my procrastination! I can’t believe I’ve been missing out all these years…
The brown sugar is a really nice addition to the Pavlova. It gave it a hit of maple/caramel flavor that was delicious with the fresh berries and un-sweetened whipped cream. And it’s so pretty too! It has a rustic elegance with the crackly meringue and lofty layers of whipped cream and berries. I’ll certainly be making this again.
Three-Layer Berry and Brown Sugar PavlovaSlightly adapted from Gourmet | July 2009 Serves 8 Active Time: 30 min – Total Time: 2 1/2 hr I went heavy on the strawberries, and reduced the number of blackberries, since strawberries are in season here. Don’t be afraid to experiment with fruit either; raspberries, blueberries, and kiwi would be delicious as well.
For meringue:Confectioners sugar for dusting 1 cup superfine granulated sugar 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar 3/4 cup egg whites (from 5 to 6 large eggs) at room temperature 30 minutes
For berries:1 1/2 pounds strawberries, trimmed and quartered 1 pound blackberries 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar, to taste
For cream:1 cup chilled heavy cream 1/3 cup chilled sour cream
Pre-heat oven to 275°F with rack in middle.
Lightly butter 3 (8-inch) round cake pans, then dust sides of pans with confectioners sugar, knocking out excess. Line bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper.
Pulse superfine sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a food processor until well combined.
Stir together vanilla and vinegar in a small bowl.
Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Increase speed to medium-high and add sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more. Add vinegar mixture, then beat at high-speed until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 3 to 5 minutes. Divide meringue evenly into the three prepared pans (about 2 1/2 cups per pan); I used a kitchen scale to portion out my meringue so it was less messy. Smooth tops of meringues (offset spatula works well).
Bake until meringues have a crisp crust and feel dry to the touch, about 1 hour (insides will still be marshmallow-like). Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool meringues in oven 1 hour. Meringues may sink slightly and crack while cooling.
Run knife along sides of cake pans and gently turn meringues out of pans. Carefully peel off parchment; meringues will be fragile and the crust may crack further – don’t worry. Carefully turn right side up and set aside to cool completely.
Toss berries with sugar, to taste, and let stand at room temperature for up to an hour. This can be done as meringues cool.
Assemble & Serve:
Beat heavy cream with sour cream using an electric mixer, or by hand, just until it holds soft peaks. Place 1 meringue on a serving plate and spread one-third of whipped cream over it. Spoon one-third of fruit, with juice, over top. Repeat with remaining meringues, cream, and fruit.
We refrigerated the leftovers, just for one day, and while they weren’t bad, they weren’t as good as the first day.