We’re entering that season where I start buying way too many berries, tomatoes, and corn on the cob, knowing that it won’t be long before those summer treasures become a distant memory. Sure, you can find them at the grocery all year around, but there are just some things that don’t taste nearly as good when they’re not peak-of-season. This pavlova is the perfect carrier for piles of ripe juicy blueberries, blackberries, and crunchy almonds. And it earns bonus points for being incredibly easy (yet looking really impressive!) You can make the pavlova and berry sauce completely the night before, so when it’s party time, all that’s left to do is fold together that luscious cream filling and pile it on as your dinner guests drool in admiration.
Speaking of that creamy filling, I think there’s only one thing better than whipped cream and berries… and that’s when you add mascarpone into the mix. Not only does this filling have a gorgeous marbled effect (see above), the tart berries plus the richness of the cream equals the perfect luxurious bite of summer.
My favorite thing about serving this dessert at a party is that it encourages everyone to get a little messy. It’s totally imperfect, and that’s a big part of the pavlova’s charm. And it’s hard to not become fast friends with the person seated across from you when you’ve both got berry-stained fingers and a touch of meringue clinging to your face. Embrace the messiness! Keep reading for the recipe…
*photos by Kate Zimmerman
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups frozen blackberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- juice and zest of 1 orange
- 1 1/4 cups whipping cream, very cold
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, very cold
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- sliced fresh mint for garnish
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
- Preheat the oven to 350. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the salt for 2 minutes. Beat in the vinegar, then with the motor still running, slowly stream in the sugar. Beat on medium-high for about 8 minutes, until the egg whites are glossy and stiff peaks form.
- In a small bowl, toss the sliced almonds with the cornstarch, then carefully fold into the beaten egg whites. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then use a large spoon to scoop the egg white mixture onto the center of the baking sheet. Use the back of the spoon to shape it into a 9″ round, and press a slight indention into the center of the disc. This will be what holds the filling.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the oven, and immediately lower the oven temperature to 225. Bake the meringue for 1 1/2 hours, then turn the oven off and let the meringue rest inside the oven for 1 hour. Transfer to a baking rack on the counter and let cool completely.
- To make the berry cream filling: In a small saucepan, simmer the frozen blackberries with sugar, orange juice, and orange zest for about 5 minutes, just until the blackberries start to break down and release their juice. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream, mascarpone, and almond extract until soft peaks form, about 2 – 3 minutes. Stir 1/2 cup of the cream into the cooled blackberry sauce, then carefully use a spatula to fold that mixture into the bowl of the whipped cream.
- Use a large spoon to dollop the blackberry cream into the center of the meringue. Sprinkle fresh blueberries, blackberries, remaining almonds, and mint over the top. Eat!