Strawberry–Blood Orange Pavlovas
Named for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova after her 1920s tour through Australia, pavlovas are crisp-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside meringues topped with fruit. We came up with this version to make the best of winter strawberries: vanilla-scented pavlovas, topped with a lovely compote of firm, tangy strawberries and peeled, chopped blood oranges. A bit of balsamic vinegar deepens the color and adds some complex sweetness.
For the pavlovas:
- 4 large egg whites with no traces of yolk, at room temperature
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the fruit compote:
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 2 blood oranges, peel and pith removed, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Pinch of fine sea salt
Make the pavlovas:
1Heat the oven to 250°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (make sure both the bowl and whisk are clean, dry, and absolutely grease-free). Whisk the whites on medium speed until they begin to lighten in color and only small bubbles remain, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and very slowly add the sugar in a thin, continuous stream. Whisk until firm, shiny peaks form, resembling marshmallow crème (this is the meringue), about 3 minutes.
3Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift the cornstarch through a fine-mesh strainer into the meringue. Drizzle with the vinegar and vanilla and fold them into the meringue with a rubber spatula until no streaks of vanilla remain, being careful not to deflate the whites.
4Using the rubber spatula, form 6 individual rounds on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
5Bake until the pavlovas are firm to the touch but slightly soft in the middle, about 60 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the baking sheet on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Run a thin metal spatula under the pavlovas to loosen.
Make the fruit compote:
1While the pavlovas are baking, in a sauté pan over medium heat, simmer the strawberries and blood oranges with the sugar, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook until it reaches a jamlike consistency, about 10 minutes.
2Cool to room temperature and spoon over the pavlovas.
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