Pavlova with Verbena Whipped Cream & Berries
all units: U.S. Imperial
- 4 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ¼ cups superfine sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
- A few drops vanilla extract
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 5-8 leaves of lemon verbena
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 pint mixed berries
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and draw a circle on the paper using a water glass to make individual portions, or an 8-9in circle for one large Pavolva. Flip the parchment over so the pencil marking is facing down (this ensures that the pencil won't transfer to the meringue). Using an electric mixer, combine egg whites and salt. Begin beating at low speed, slowly increasing to high. Continue until peaks begin to form; gradually beat in sugar a tablespoon at a time until meringue is stiff and shiny.
Sprinkle in cornstarch, white-wine vinegar and almond, and fold in gently. Mound onto parchment using the circle as a guide, and shape into a disk, flattening the top and smoothing sides slightly. Place in oven, and immediately reduce heat to 300 degrees. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn off heat, and allow meringue to cool completely in the oven.
To make the lemon verbena whipped cream: portion half the whipped cream into a heavy bottomed saucepan, and add the sugar, heat until the sugar is dissolved and it is just simmering. Remove from heat, and steep the lemon verbena leaves in the cream. Allow to cool and pour the cream into a large mixing bowl with the remaining cream. Using an electric mixer, whip until the cream begins to stiffen. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, carefully peel off parchment and place meringue on a platter or cake stand. Gently crack the top with the back of a soup spoon to make a shallow nest for the whipped cream and berries. Spoon the whipped cream evenly over meringue. Cover cream with berries and a bit of lemon zest. Serve immediately.