Is there anything better than a girls’ lunch with friends you haven’t seen in awhile? Very little. This afternoon I got to catch up with some old friends and neighbors and, because it was such a legitimately beautiful spring day, I decided this lunch needed an extraordinary (but easy) salad, a crisp white wine, and a great, light dessert.
I cannot recommend this Burrata, Roasted Asparagus, and Tomato salad from Foodie Crush enough. It is my go-to entree salad because it hits all my favorite high-notes – bright, creamy, substantial, salty, slightly sweet. The only thing that makes this salad better is eating it on the patio overlooking the ocean. Trust me.
Because the salad had such great, bold flavors, even for being a ‘warm weather’ affair, dessert needed to be light, not overly sweet, and full of spring. Also? There are people who just aren’t “cake” or “cookie” people. This is a perfect alternative – and who can argue with gorgeous, sweet fresh fruit as a highlight?
Named for Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova, in the 1920s, this dessert is a ballerina in cuisine. Light, airy, with just a hint of the crispness of a performance tutu. Add in the fresh fruit topping and, well, add in the appropriate dance metaphor here.
I’d not made one before. For whatever reason, meringues seemed either too intimidating or seemed like too much work. This is not the case. You can meringue like a badass. Here’s how.
Note: For health and lifestyle purposes, I use all organic products. Conventional products will work equally as well.
4 large organic egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine organic sugar*
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar (regular vinegar can also work)
1 teaspoon organic pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups organic fresh whipped cream (recipe here)
Mixed organic berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, boysenberries, or blackberries, for serving. Other fruits work well as well. (optional)
* Note: Superfine sugar is sugar with a much smaller crystal size, so it dissolves easier into the dish. It is often hard to find (as I discovered), but don’t worry, you can make your own. Place regular sugar into a food processor and chop or grind it for about a minute. It will be the correct sized crystal and you can proceed.
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Using an 8-inch bowl as a guide, trace the perimeter of the bowl onto a sheet of parchment paper. Transfer parchment paper, pencil side down, to a baking sheet. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt together until glossy peaks form. With mixer running, add sugar in thirds until all is incorporated, beating until meringue is stiff and glossy.
4. Remove bowl and sprinkle in cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla. Gently fold to combine.
5. Using a spatula, mound the meringue in the center of the 8-inch circle. Evenly spread meringue out towards the edges. Try to get the thickness fairly consistent across the circle for even baking. It will not be a perfect circle – don’t worry, the rustic peaks will look gorgeous when cooked.
6. Transfer baking sheet to oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
7. Turn off oven and let meringue cool completely in oven (roughly an hour). When meringue is cool and completely dry, top with whipped cream and fruits of choice.