I love the ethereal lightness of a Meringue. Using it as a blank canvas; meringue offers the potential for endless possibilities. My family’s favorite summer dessert was named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova by a chef who wanted to create something “as light and ethereal as the dancer herself.
Since Strawberries are in season and herbs like mint and basil are growing rampant in my back yard. I wanted to make a recipe which utilizes the best of summer. The result was:
Pink Peppercorn Pavlova with Strawberry Coulis & Basil Syrup
- 1/3 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 1 (1-pint) basket strawberries, hulled
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1 (1-pint) basket strawberries, hulled, quartered
- Fresh basil leaves (for garnish)
For Basil Syrup:
- Blanch 1/3 cup basil leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds.
- Puree basil with corn syrup in blender.
- Cover and chill at least 2 hours up to overnight for flavors to develop. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Preheat oven to 275°.
- Trace six 2.5 inches circles on parchment paper onto baking sheet.
- Beat egg whites on high speed to soft peaks. Add ¾ cup sugar and continue beating till medium peaks.
- Mix remaining ¼ cup sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. And add to the eggs; continue beating till very stiff.
- Beat in white vinegar and fold peppercorns.
- Divide meringue into 6 portions and spread to form tall circle.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Turn oven off and open door just slightly. Let meringues cool in oven for 1 hour.
For Strawberry Coulis:
- Puree berries and sugar in blender until smooth.
For Vanilla Cream:
- Add cream sugar and vanilla bean or vanilla extract in a bowl. Using electric mixer beat cream to soft peaks.
- Place small dollop of vanilla cream in center of each plate. Spoon circle of coulis around the cream.
- Place meringue on top of cream.
- Spoon dollop of cream on top of meringue. Top with quartered strawberries and fresh basil leaves.
- Drizzle basil syrup and serve immediately.
(Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine)