After an almost week long hiatus from the blog, I’m here again to tell you allll about this gorgeous summer dessert and exactly why you should be making it happen in your life as soon as freaking possible. But first! Let me fill you in on our trip!
Earlier this week, Dan and I came home from our Italy adventure and it was so very bittersweet. We were gone for about 9 days, and around day 6, I started to feel homesick. This always happens to me. Always around that time of any trip. I miss my own bed. My dogs. My own coffee. I miss cooking. I even miss my car. But most of all, I miss my baby!
Traveling WITHOUT Kieran has been a very deliberate decision for us. Before we had him, Dan and I made a promise to one another that we would still take time for ourselves, away from our child. In this case, 9 days is on the extreme end! I think it’s very healthy for everyone involved, but 9 days was a loooong one for me. I was missing him the moment we left and that feeling just got stronger and stronger as the days went on. As amazing and incredible and special as this vacation was, I was so ready to come home and smother my baby with hugs and kisses and I love you’s.
During this vacation, I also took some time away from the blog. It felt good. Sometimes, I feel like things are getting a little stale on here. Taking a step back and finding some new inspiration usually does the trick for me. I spent the time away exploring a new-t0-me country and soaking up the culture (and cuisine! and wine!) as much as possible in such a short time. We explored Rome for a couple days and then took ourselves into the insanely beautiful Tuscany. It is true. No picture can do it justice. What a gorgeous countryside! We worked our way through Tuscany, staying in quaint country towns for most of the week. I found myself asking Dan the same question I ALWAYS ask him when we travel: “why do we live where we live again?”
We ended the trip in Florence and the magical Cinque Terre, up on the northwest coast of Italy. It was heaven. The food was incredible, the wine free flowing, and the laughs abundant. We had an amazing time.
But being home feels so good.
I’m celebrating with today’s recipe. After all, this pavlova is DEFINITELY worthy of a celebration. It’s gorgeous. Impressive. Delicious. And as far as desserts go, relatively easy.
Oh! And there’s wine involved. Which only means good things can happen.
Let me start by saying this: no, this is not TECHNICALLY a pavlova. Rather, it’s a giant meringue. Pavlova’s, while very, very similar to meringue, usually have vinegar and cornstarch involved, and this one is just a simple egg white meringue. But pavlova is more fun to say! I’m getting this out of the way before any purists can correct me. I’m taking some creative liberty with the title today! The end result is still fabulous, so let’s get into it, shall we?
It all starts with a fluffy pile of meringue. I find meringue incredibly easy yet satisfying to make. My mixer does all the work, but there is something so gratifying about plain old egg whites whipping up into such magical clouds. I love it. There are a few key tricks to making a perfect meringue, though. 1. Always use room temperature eggs. Cold eggs just don’t whip up the same. 2. Don’t attempt meringue of any type on a rainy or excessively humid day. The eggs don’t like the extra moisture. 3. Make this when you have extra time, as meringue has to bake at a low temperature for a long time (plus cooling time!) before it can be served. In fact, if I’m ever planning a meringue dessert for a dinner party, I always make it in the morning.
Other than that, though, meringue is really low maintenance. Haha. Just follow the recipe instructions. You may be surprised at how easy it comes together. I love it here because it adds such amazing texture to this dessert. Chewy, crunchy, soft, and airy all in one bite, JUST from the meringue. It’s pretty magical stuff.
The meringue gets piled high with whipped cream. But not just ANY whipped cream! Rosé-infused whipped cream! That’s right. I’m putting rosé wine in this dessert. Big time. First, in the whipped cream.
Second, I take the wine and reduce it down until it’s syrupy and sweet (but still boozy!) and use it for soaking the strawberries that go on top of the whipped cream. THEN! The remaining rosé syrup gets drizzled over top. You don’t want to waste a single drop of this stuff. It’s so dang yummy. And it BELONGS with strawberries. Plus, that pretty pink color makes me swoon.
I assembled the pavlova and took its beauty shots. A little bit later, Dan arrived home from work. He took two step into the kitchen, gasped, and demanded to know what the beautiful pile of whipped cream and strawberries was. As I started to tell him, he ate a strawberry. He interrupted me: “why and how does that strawberry taste so good?! What dark magic is this?!” And that, my friends, is the magic of rosé wine and strawberries. They are meant. to. be.
Not only is this dessert beautiful and impressive, but it really does taste like heaven.
Well, if heaven were made up of whipped cream, strawberries, and rosé wine.
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of fine salt
1¼ cups sugar
1 cup rosé wine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons rosé wine
2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 275°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt at medium speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.
Increase the speed to medium-high and beat in the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the meringue is stiff and glossy, about 6 minutes.
Using a large spoon, dollop the meringue onto the baking sheet, forming a circle. Make an impression in the center of the meringue.
Bake for 1½ hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
While the pavlova is baking, make the syrup by combining the wine and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add in the halved vanilla bean and continue to cook the mixture over medium-low heat until it is reduced by half and thick and syrupy. Cool to room temperature before serving.
Place the pavlova on a serving plate or cake stand.
Place the heavy cream in your stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until it begins to thicken.
Add in the powdered sugar and wine and beat until the cream is thickened and airy. Spoon the whipped cream into the center of the pavlova.
Toss the strawberries in half of the rosé syrup. Spoon them over the top of the whipped cream and pavlova.
Garnish with mint sprigs and a generous drizzle of the remaining rosé syrup. Serve immediately.