Kitra: This post comes to you from the great state of Oregon (est. 1859) and also from the past. More specifically, the Fourth of July.
Jordan: We were visiting our dad in our hometown and wanted something that was gluten-free for him but was also festive, because when you have a cake blog you’re not allowed to let Independence Day pass without doing something red-and-blue. It’s a rule.
We’ve been looking at pavlovas for a while, because Jordan found a technicality that says they count as cake.
It’s not a technicality, it’s Wikipedia! The title of the article is Pavlova (cake). It counts..
And since my favorite dessert is an Eaton mess, which is basically the same thing (albeit less pretty and with wildly different ingredient ratios) I’m an easy sell.
Pavlova, if you’re not familiar with it, is essentially a giant meringue, generally topped with fruit and whipped cream. You can make it in elegant shapes, or you can just go rustic and free-form it.
And when I saw Erin McDowell had a recipe for a slablova, it was so fun to pronounce that we had to go with it.
It’s like slab pie, only instead of rolling out pie crust you’re just throwing a bunch of egg whites and sugar together and forgetting about them in the oven.
Everyone loves a slab pie.
We were also making a roasted cherry sorbet (which we also recommend, so we doubled the cherries and used those as a topping along with blueberries. We also added an Earl Grey whipped cream, because Kitra will never pass up a chance to add tea to something.
And I have no regrets about it. It brings another flavor to the dish, and allows you to cut the sweetness of the Pavlova.
I did find the pavlova itself to be a bit on the sweet side, but I also topped my portion with weird store-bought almond whipped cream. (Don’t ask.) If you’re going with a store-bought whipped cream, first of all don’t do that, but second of all, you’ll want to make sure you use some unsweetened fruit to keep it from being overwhelmingly sweet.
But really, don’t do that. Even an infused whipped cream is so, so easy.
Overall, a nice change of pace and a good dessert for a lazy summer evening in the backyard.
Fair warning that while a meringue bakes at quite a low temperature, the cherries do not. If you want to do both, you might consider doing the cherries the day before. Otherwise you’re going to have to open up your oven to get it back down to 275°, which will make your kitchen miserable. This would also be good topped with any other fruit, cooked or raw.
You don’t have to infuse the whipped cream, but it’s a very nice touch. If you go with regular whipped cream, just put the tiniest bit of sugar in it–the meringue will be plenty sweet.
Recipe from Erin McDowell on Food52
- splash of white vinegar
- 9 egg whites, preferably at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- roasted cherries, fresh blueberries, and whipped cream, to top
Preheat oven to 275°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wipe out the beater and bowl of an electric mixer (stand or handheld) with white vinegar. Dry.
Beat egg whites and cream of tarter on low until foamy. Increase speed to medium and add the sugar very gradually, beating throughout. Beat to stiff peaks, about 8-10 minutes. Mix in the vanilla.
Spread/pour the meringue mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Spread into whatever shape and thickness you desire–a thicker pavlova will have a slightly gooier center, but a flatter one will serve a crowd more easily.
Place baking sheet in the oven and reduce the temperature to 225°. Bake for 2 hours, then turn the oven off. Let cool in the oven completely, which may take another 3 hours or more. It will continue firming up in this time, so don’t take it out until it’s mostly cool.
Carefully move to a serving platter, if desired. Top with whipped cream, blueberries, and roasted cherries.
- 1 lb sweet cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- ¾ cup water
Preheat oven to 400°.
In a baking pan with sides, mix together cherries, sugar, and salt. Bake until the cherries have released their juices and everything is bubbling nicely. This will take somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes, so keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t start to burn. Once the juices are thickly bubbling, add the water, stir, and let cook another 10 minutes or so until they’ve thickened up again.
Remove from oven and transfer cherries to a container in the fridge to chill until you’re ready to top the pavlova.
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 Earl Grey tea bags
- 1 teaspoon sugar
In a heat-safe bowl in the microwave or a small saucepan, heat the cream until hot to the touch. Add the tea bags and let them steep is cool and lightly flavored. Discard tea bags and move the cream to the fridge to chill completely. Once cold, whip cream and sugar using an electric mixer on high until thick and fluffy.