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How to make the perfect summer dessert – Mixed Berry Pavlova

Look at this dessert! It’s a Pavlova, named after the legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It’s made of melt-in-your-mouth meringue blanketed with lightly sweetened whipped cream and topped with luscious ripe berries. It’s like a fluffy cloud of happiness. I kinda want to face plant into it right now.

This is one of those wonderful “secret weapon” desserts to have in your repertoire. It looks amazingly elegant, complicated and totally fancy pants. But! It’s really quite easy and inexpensive. Shhh! Don’t tell!

I have to tell you I had a major fail prepping this recipe. Meringue is made from whipped egg whites and I found a carton of pasteurized egg whites marked down at the store. Score! No muss, no fuss, right? Well, here’s what I learned: You can’t make meringue with pasteurized egg whites. Duh! The heat of the pasteurization process damages the proteins of the egg so it doesn’t create the volume needed to make a stable meringue. I tried to make the goofy thing twice before I looked it up. I learned something new so I guess that’s okay. On with dessert!

Mixed Berry Pavlova

Yield: 6 servings Time: 2 hours 15 minutes – 15 minutes active.

What You’ll Need:

4 egg whites at room temperature

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar – divided

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla – divided

1 cup whipping cream – whipped

1 pint or more of mixed berries

Here’s How:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or brown paper. Here’s how to be sure your finished meringue will fit on your serving dish. Use a plate as a template – and with a pencil, draw a circle on the paper.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating continuously at high speed until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. This will take at least five minutes. Add the vanilla and blend.

Spoon meringue on the prepared cookie sheet, using the circle as your guide. Build up sides with the back of the spoon. Place in 300 degree oven and immediately reduce heat to 250 degrees.

Bake for 60 minutes, then turn the heat OFF and let it sit in the closed oven for another hour. The inside of the meringue will remain soft. Carefully remove the meringue from the paper and place on a serving plate. Whip the cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream and top with the berries. Serve right away.

Meringue tips – Make certain absolutely no egg yolk gets into the whites because any trace of fat prevents them from whipping up. Use metal or glass bowls, not plastic. Fresh eggs make better meringue.

Fabulous Food contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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