Pavlova with Fresh Red Fruits
For this holiday dessert, use the best berries available. Consider mixing in some preserved lingonberries or chunky strawberry preserves to make the fruit more juicy.
- Simple Meringue
- 2 pints total of fresh fruits, such as red currants, raspberries, strawberries, and a few pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup kirsch or Grand Marnier
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 pint heavy cream
- Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
Using a rubber spatula, spoon 3 to 4 one-cup blobs of meringue onto each prepared baking sheet, leaving 3 inches of space between each blob. Lift up sides of each blob with a small offset spatula and flip meringue back across the top, creating 6 to 8 smoothly folded pillowlike squares.
Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees. Place baking sheet in oven; bake until meringues are crisp on outside but have a marshmallow consistency on inside, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check consistency by poking into the bottom one meringue pillow. If meringues start to brown, reduce temperature to 175 degrees. Remove from oven, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, combine fruit, kirsch, and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl. Let stand, gently stirring once or twice, until soft and juicy, about 1 hour or longer, depending on the fruits.
Pour cream into chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip, on medium speed, until cream is just stiff. Break meringue pillows open, and place on dessert plates. Top with whipped cream and berries. Garnish with fresh mint and a dusting of confectioners' sugar.