TALK ABOUT FANCY.
I promise promise promise you- this is the sneakiest, simplest fancy dessert you ever will make.
You will garner ooohhhhss and aaaahhhhs from every guest.
You will be begged for seconds.
You will be told you are a magician (you are).
Best of all- you will make your gluten free buddies so so happy!
Strawberry Pavlova Cake
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice
1 TBSP cornstarch
2 lb strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 quart heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste!)
Clean your mixing bowl. Using the lemon that's already been juiced, run the fleshy side all around your mixing bowl then wipe dry with a paper towel. This is to make sure there are no oils in your bowl which would prevent your eggs from forming peaks!
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the egg whites in the mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment and beat until stiff (so when you lift the beater up the peaks do not fall). Slowly add the (1 1/2 c) sugar a few tablespoons at a time and continue beating until thick and shiny. Gently fold in the lemon juice, cornstarch and vanilla.
Separate the meringue into three even mounds on the parchment lined baking sheets, then working from the center, spread out with a spoon to create three circles about 9" in diameter and about 1" tall. You want the edges to be slightly higher than the center. Make sure the two on the same sheet are at least 3" apart or they will connect as they cook!
Bake at 300 for one hour until it looks dry around the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Prep the strawberries (or any berries) while the meringue is in the oven. Wash and slice the strawberries then combine with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar- cover and set aside in the fridge until you're ready to assemble.
WHEN YOU ARE READY TO SERVE AND NOT BEFORE THAT VERY MOMENT BECAUSE THIS IS INTEGRAL TO THE TEXTURE OF THE CAKE, assemble the Pavlova!
Whip the very cold cream with the vanilla until soft peaks form- do not over whip or you will have butter!
Place the first meringue on a large platter, top with 1/3 of the whipped cream and 1/3 of the strawberries. Repeat with the other two layers and LOOK AT YOU YOU JUST DID A THING!
This does not hold up well once assembled, you're going to want to eat it all within an hour or the moisture of the berries will start to break down the meringue. I like to serve this super sloppy with a huge serving spoon and bowls- presentation is pretty, the way we eat it not so much.