Monday, February 11, 2013

Heart Shaped Strawberry Pavlova


         We celebrated Valentine's Day on sunday. I must confess though that we really don't do anything for it. I get flowers all year long and can eat chocolate whenever I want. I've always seen valentine's day as a buffer between christmas and easter. I know of others who go all out for it and I think it's great, but it's really not my favorite day.

However..I will never pass up a chance to bake something up in a heart shape! We adore pavlova's and I decided to tackle a shaped one..up until now I've only down the small rounds and the larger round ones. It's super easy to make and shape. I used a black marker one one side of parchment paper and drew a 12-inch heart. I flipped it over ( you don't want to spoon your pav onto the marker but on the opposite side!), and then spread the egg white mixture out. Please don't worry if your pavlova cracks during baking or when you take it's totally normal,part of the charm and can be covered up when you add the whipping cream and berries.

Feel free to use either fresh or canned berries..our strawberries look rather dodgy this time of year so I went with canned strawberry filling! so good and easy. The pavlova has a wonderful flavor from using almond extract and compliments the strawberry flavor very well. The pavlova was chewy and light and marshmallow soft on the inside. Perfection!

Heart Shaped Strawberry Pavlova

4 Egg Whites
1/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1-1/4 cups Sugar
2 tsp. Cornstarch
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Almond Extract
2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
2 TBS Sugar
1 Quart Fresh Strawberries,sliced or pie filling of choice

Place egg whites in a bowl of a stand mixer and allow to stand at room temp for 30 minutes. Beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add in cream of tartar;beat until soft peaks form. Gradullay add in the sugar,one tablespoon at a time,beatong on high until stiff peaks form. Sprinkles corn starch over egg mixture and fold in. Fold in lemon juice and extract.

Preheat oven to 250 or 120 celcius. Coat a 14-inch pizza pan with cooking spray OR use a cookie sheet with no sides or flip one that does have sides,over ( the pav will expand while baking so it's best to give the heart shape as much room as possible). Either spread the egg white mixture into a 12-inch heart shape on the prepared pan making sure to build the edges up slightly or go with my version: tracing a heart shape onto parchment paper and then filling it in with the egg white mixture while making sure to build the edges up slightly, and then sliding it onto an over turned cookie sheet :)

Bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes or until crisp on the outside. Cool on a pan on wire rack.

In a bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Add in the 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. You can also add a few drops of red food coloring like I did to make a pink cream :) Spoon over the meringue and arrange the berries on top. Eat immediately!

Yield: 12 servings or smaller if you are like us :)
Source: Taste of Home