I am seriously obsessed with meringue. There is something special about a dessert that is sweet and crisp and light as air. Who would have thought that beating egg whites and sugar could be so magical? Pair it with fruit and/or whipped cream and it’s over the top. When I saw a picture of this Pavlova Wreath at She Wears Many Hats, I soooo needed to give it a try.
Until I started blogging, I never made a meringue myself (silly me), but I had eaten literally hundreds. Yes, my past included Strawberry Schaum Tortes (which, growing up, I always hoped would be on the restaurant dessert menu), my mother’s special occasion Strawberry Meringue Dessert and the Cream Meringues I ate during teas with friends when I studied in Ireland. Yup, just mention meringue and I start to mist up.
One of the most famous meringue desserts is the Pavlova, created for the famed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova during a tour to Australia and New Zealand. It is a crisp meringue with a creamy center (some meringues are crisp all the way through) and topped with fruit and whipped cream.
This Pavolva wreath is a good beginner meringue since it doesn’t require any special skills (such as piping) to form. You just drop dollops of meringue in a circle on parchment (I don’t even draw a circle first like some people recommend), then smooth as needed into a wreath. Bake, let cool, then top with whipped cream and decorate with a little or a lot of fruit. (If you are using a lot of topping, you may want to flatten or hollow out a bit of a well but for the more limited amount of filling in this recipe, leaving the meringue mounded works well).
Finally, garnish as desired. I used a few sugared cranberries and some lemon balm (mint is good too) leaves.
After a big Christmas dinner, I need a dessert that is both tasty and light to tempt a roomful of stuffed and sleepy guests. I think I’ve got a winner here!
- • 4 eggs whites (ideally room temperature)
- • Pinch of salt
- • 1 cup sugar
- • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (sifted)
- • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- • ½ teaspoon vanilla
- • 1 cup heavy cream
- • ¼ cup powdered sugar
- • 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Fruit as desired for garnish.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Top a large baking sheet with parchment.
- Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in sugar, a little at time until meringue is stiff. Beat in sifted cornstarch, vanilla & lemon juice. Mixture should be very stiff and hold its shape well if mounded
- To form the wreath, scoop a dollop of meringue onto the parchment. Repeat until a ring of meringue is complete. Smooth the meringue as needed. The top can be left mounded or flattened, depending on the amount of topping you are using.
- Place meringue in oven, and immediately reduce temperature to 250. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. When time is complete, turn off the oven and leave meringue in the oven until completely cool, about 4 hours.
- Before serving, beat the whipped cream until stiff. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla then beat briefly until combined.
- When meringue is cool, loosen gently from the parchment with a thin flat tool and move to a serving dish. Spread with whipped cream, and decorate as desired.
- Serve within a few hours of topping.
- Sugared Cranberries
- Sorbet and Champagne Cocktail