Pavlova is a dessert with a meringue base that was created in honor of the ballet dancer Anna Pavlova when she was touring in New Zealand and Australia. The main ingredient that separates pavlova from a normal meringue, is the addition of cornstarch and vinegar to the egg white mixture. The cornstarch, egg and vinegar creates a chemical reaction which results in a fluffy, marshmallow center.
Strawberry Pavlova Cupcakes (Gluten-Free)
- 1 cup fresh (organic) strawberries, cut in bite size pieces
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature (they will separate easier if they are cold)
- 1 cup superfine or regular sugar
- 1 2/3 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free rice wine vinegar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat oven to 300 F degrees. Mix strawberry pieces with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside. Place 12 muffin liners in a muffin tin, set aside.
- In a the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a medium bowl with a hand-held mixer), whisk eggs until stiff peaks form. With mixer still on high, gradually add in one cup of superfine sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. Keep whisking until egg whites are stiff and glossy. Mix in 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and whisk until just combined. Whisk vinegar and cornstarch into the mixer and whisk until just combined.
- Spoon meringue mixture into prepared muffin liners until mixture just overflows the top of the liners. Use the back of a spoon to fluff out the meringue to create smooth little peaks. Or you can simply use a standard sized ice cream scoop to fill the liners, which also looks pretty.
- Reduce oven temperature to 220 degrees, and bake for one hour. Turn off oven and allow to cool completely as the oven cools.
- Whip cream together with confectioner’s sugar and 2/3 teaspoon of vanilla until soft peaks form. Gently cut the tops off the cupcakes and fill with a dollop of whipped cream and a spoonful of strawberries.
Strawberries can be substituted for kiwi, raspberries or any fruit you prefer.