- - FOR THE MERINGUE -
- 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) egg whites (5 to 7 large eggs)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- - FOR THE TOPPING -
- 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered (5 cups)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1 1/2 teaspoons juice
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, plus 10 small leaves, divided
- - FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM -
- 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Step 1: For the Meringue: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees F. Using a pencil, draw a 10-inch circle in the center of an 18″x 13″ piece of parchment paper.
Step 2: Combine sugar and eggs whites in bowl of stand mixer; place bowl over saucepan filled with 1-inch of simmering water, making sure that water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisking gently but constantly, heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture registers 160-165 degrees F, 5 to 8 minutes.
Step 3: Fit stand mixer with whisk attachment and whip mixture on high speed until meringue forms stiff peaks, is smooth and creamy, and is bright white with sheen, about 4 minutes (bowl may still be slightly warm to the touch). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with spatula. Add vinegar, cornstarch, and vanilla and whip on high speed until combined, about 10 seconds.
Step 4: Spoon about 1/4 teaspoon meringue onto each corner of a rimmed baking sheet. Press parchment, marked side down, onto sheet to secure. Pile meringue in center of circle on parchment. Using the circle as a guide, spread and smooth meringue with back of spoon or spatula from center outward, building a 10-inch disk that is slightly higher around the edges. Finished disk should measure about 1-inch high with 1/4-inch depression in the center.
Step 5: Bake meringue until exterior is dry and crisp and meringue releases cleanly from parchment when gently lifted at edge with thin metal spatula, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Meringue should be quite pale (a hint of creamy color is okay). Turn of oven, prop door open with wooden spoon, and let meringue cool in oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool completely before topping, about 15 minutes. (Cooled meringue can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 1 week).
Step 6: For the Topping: Toss strawberries with sugar, lime zest and juice, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Step 7: For the Whipped Cream: Before serving, stir chopped basil into strawberry mixture. Whip cream and sugar in chilled bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and whip until whisk leaves trail, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue to whip until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly doubled in volume, about 20 seconds longer for soft peaks. If necessary, finish whipping by hand to adjust consistency.
Step 8: Carefully peel meringue away from parchment and place on large serving platter. Spoon whipped cream into center of meringue. Using a slotted spoon, spoon topping in even layer over whipped cream. Garnish with basil leaves. Let stand for at least 5 minutes or up to 1 hour. Slice and serve, drizzling pavlova slices with any juice from bowl.
Enjoy this delicious & beautiful fresh fruit pavlova from Cook’s Illustrated!