I’ve never heard the word “pavlova” more than in the past month. It’s not a dessert that gets a lot of attention, but for some reason I’ve been seeing it everywhere: At parties we’ve gone to, on the Food Network, and even on one of my favorite blogs. Since it’s a naturally gluten-free dessert, I wanted to get in on the action and make my own.
The only part of the recipe that really ever changes is the base; everyone seems to make their meringue different. I like using powdered sugar for a sweeter and pure white meringue, with a little bit of cream of tartar to help it stay up. I also choose to let it “cook” overnight in a hot oven to get the best texture. When it’s done, the outside should be hard and crispy while the inside meringue is soft like a marshmallow.
The fun thing about this dessert is you can dress the meringue any way. Whip regular cream instead of coconut milk for a more traditional dessert. You can serve it with any fresh fruit that’s on hand or even use a fruit sauce.
Cherry Coconut Pavlova
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12 hours(overnight)
Ingredients(Makes 3-4 servings):
- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup coconut cream*
- 1/2 cup pitted and halved cherries
*To get coconut cream, leave a can of full-fat coconut milk undisturbed in the pantry for a few days. Open it without shaking the can. The cream will be separated on the top from the coconut water, a clear liquid that you can save and use as a sports drink.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Whip the egg whites in a glass bowl slowly adding the powdered sugar and cream of tartar until it forms soft peaks.
- Pour the meringue in a mound on a non-stick baking tray. Swirl a utensil on the top of the meringue for an artful effect.
- Put the meringue in the oven and immediately turn off the oven. Do not open the oven door. Let the meringue sit undisturbed in the hot oven overnight.
- When the meringue is ready, whip the coconut milk in a chilled glass bowl until it forms stiff peaks.
- Spread the whipped coconut milk on top of the meringue and garnish with the cherry halves. Serve immediately.
This dessert definitely stops being pretty once you cut into it. That’s ok; it’s delicious enough that no one will notice. The best bites are the ones where you get a little of everything: The sweet meringue, the rich topping, and the tart cherries.