The ruffly whites edges and marshmallowy inside are what make pavlova so special. Here, the meringue dessert named after the famed Russian ballet dancer is topped with whipped cream and sour cherries that have been lightly grilled, imparting surprising smoky notes. Since sour cherries are hard to come by most times of the year, you can substitute strawberries or any other favorite berry.
To learn more, read "Pavlova Actually."
Pink Pepper Pavlova with Grilled Cherries
Recipe adapted from Tracy Obolsky, North End Grill, New York, NY
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
For the Pavlova:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ cup, plus 2½ tablespoons, granulated sugar
¾ cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon ground pink peppercorns
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Whipped Cream:
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
Pinch of kosher salt
For the Grilled Cherries:
1 quart pitted whole sour cherries or strawberries, hulled
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1. Make the pavlova: Preheat the oven to 200° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed. When the whites start to look foamy, gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to mix the whites after the sugar has been added until the meringue holds medium-stiff peaks. Fold in the sifted confectioners' sugar, pink peppercorns and salt carefully, so as not to deflate the meringue. Spread the meringue into an 8-inch circle on the prepared sheet pan. Bake until completely dried out, 2½ to 3 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool.
2. Make the whipped cream: In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until the mixture holds medium peaks. Chill until ready to assemble the pavlova.
3. Make the grilled cherries: Toss the cherries, both kinds of sugar and salt until well coated. Grill over medium-high heat in a grill basket, tossing every 45 seconds, until the cherries start to color slightly and release their juices, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the cherries to a bowl and let them cool.
4. Top the cooled pink peppercorn pavlova with the whipped cream and the grilled cherries, then serve.