ROANOKE, Va. – Firecracker Pavlova
This do-ahead dessert mimics an Australian Pavlova because of its meringue crust, but this one, designed for your summer crowd, makes up in a 9x13” casserole dish, making serving and ‘toting’ a breeze. In this recipe, we use cherry pie filling, strawberries and blueberries – making it perfect for your red, white, and blue color scheme. Top it with mini-American flags, or if serving it outside, present it with a flaming sparkler, to give the evening a festive and fabulous finale!
Early in the morning, the day before serving, make this:
6 egg whites, at room temperature
½ tsp. cream of tartar
¼ tsp. salt
1 ¾ cup sugar
Beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt (to stabilize the foam), and continue beating at high speed with an electric mixer until it becomes opaque. Gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until sugar is no long gritty when rubbed between two fingers and meringue is very thick (like marshmallow in texture). Spread in a 9x13” ungreased pan and bake at 275°F for one hour. Turn off oven and leave in oven all day long – don’t peek!
Later that day:
2 cups heavy cream
1 8 oz. block of lower fat cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whip cream until stiff; set aside.
Soften cream cheese with a spoon and mix in sugar and vanilla, then blend with the whipped cream.
Spread on cooled meringue – if it’s lumpy, press it down so it’s even. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Morning of 2nd day:
1 20 oz. can ‘lite’ cherry pie filling
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup blueberries
Combine pie filling and strawberries and spoon over cream cheese, almost to edges.
Sprinkle blueberries over top. Refrigerate until served. Scoop out with a spoon or cut into squares to serve.
Top with 3 mini-American flags, some mint, and/or a sparkler. Serves 12
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