Pavlova & Italian Soda Bar

Before Christmas we threw a work party for Tyler.  It was fun to mingle with his work friends and enjoy lots of good food.  From the white elephant exchange we came away with a $15 itunes gift card and a Dali Melting actual clock, not a painting.

I wanted to make a dessert that would stand up to some oohhhs and aahhhs.  So pavlova called my name!  (This does not quite fall into line with our eating habits, but that has to be ignored this time).    

The presentation of this dessert does all the work for you, because it's probably the easiest dessert you'll ever make.  It's a dessert most often consumed in New Zealand and Australia that is crunchy on the outside and so so light inside.  Top that with some homemade whipped cream and berries.  Heaven in your mouth.  And you don't even feel bad when you've eaten half of it.  Okay, maybe you will.

adapted from this recipe

4 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4-1/2 cups powdered sugar
Berries of choice (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, mango, etc)
optional - can also add chocolate chips or shavings to the top

Preheat oven to 300.  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  This recipe calls for the pavlova to be spread out in a 9 inch diameter.  You can do this by drawing a circle on one side of the parchment and flip over when putting the dessert on (no pencil shavings in your dessert).  I doubled the recipe and spread out probably in about a 12 inch circle.

In a mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form then while continuing to mix, add 3/4 cup granulated sugar gradually and let sugar dissolve.  Add a pinch of salt.  Mix until peaks are stiff.

In a separate bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and cornstarch together and fold into the egg whites.

Spread mixture in an even layer in a circle on your parchment paper.

Bake at 300 for 1 hour.  Turn off your oven, leaving the pavlova in, and let bake for another 30 minutes.  It should be hard on the outside and moist on the inside.  Let cool completely.

In your mixing bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream until peaks are almost stiff.  Mix in powdered sugar according to taste.  Top your pavlova with the cream and berries.  Stand back and admire your work!

We also had an Italian Soda bar for the party.  It was a good way to have fun drinks!  I found this FREE PRINTABLE that I stuck in a frame and it worked perfect for our guests, most who had never tried this before.  It was a great party and I would gladly host again next year...but I haven't told Tyler that yet.

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