8 egg whites
pinch of salt
2-1/2 Cups sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp White Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup fresh blueberries
1-1/2 Cups red raspberries
2 Cups heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp Hibiscus Powder
3 Tbsp confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
Separate eggs, pouring egg whites into a clean stainless bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). Allow egg whites to rest at room temperature for 30 min, while you preheat the oven to 350F.
Using a dinner plate, draw a 10 – 12″ circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Flip the parchment paper over (so you don’t put food on your pencil marks), and place it of a baking sheet. Make sure you can still see your circle outlines.
Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, whisk the egg whites and salt together at high speed, until the egg whites begin to form soft peaks. Add the sugar slowly, one tablespoonful at a time, and whisk until the eggs form shiny stiff peaks.
Putting away the mixer, evenly distribute the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla over the egg mixture. Use a spatula to fold these ingredients in gently, then pour the fluffy egg batter onto the parchment paper. Use the circle you drew as a guideline as you shape the pavlova batter.
Make an slight indentation in the middle of the meringue mound. It will “poof” up while it bakes, and then sink as the dessert cools, but will eventually be the bowl for the cream and fruit toppings. Use the spatula to smooth out the outside edges of the whipped egg whites.
Carefully transfer baking sheet to the middle rack in the oven (with no other rack above it!)., and turn the oven temperature down to 300F degrees. Bake for 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours. Pavlova is ready when a toothpick, inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out almost completely clean.
Turn off the oven (but leave the dessert in there), and open the oven door. Leave the pavlova cooking and cooling in the oven until it is completely cool.
When you are ready to assemble the dessert, gingerly remove the parchment paper from the bottom, and place the Pavlova on a serving platter or cake plate.
Make the hibiscus cream topping by combining the hibiscus powder with just enough hot water to create a thick paste. Allow mixture to sit for 2 min while powder dissolves. Combine whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar and hibiscus “paste” in a mixing bowl, whipping on medium-high speed until the cream is thick, but not stiff.
Spread the hibiscus whipped cream over the meringue base, spreading the pastel filling all the way to the edge of the dessert. Top the cream layer with fresh raspberries, followed by blueberries to fill spaces between the raspberries.
Photo credit: Des Moines’ own Brianna Petersen Photography