A Taste of Punta Mita

Strawberry Pavlova
by Carl Emberson

This so very Australian dessert has always been a part of family celebrations, while also being featured on the menus of the different establishments I have managed over the years. This a recipe handed down from my grandmother.

Strawberry Pavlova

6 portions

For the meringue

4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 ¼ cups superfine sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
A few drops vanilla extract

For the topping

450 gr. strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
½ tsp. high-quality vanilla extract
1 tsp. high-quality balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. superfine sugar
2 cups heavy cream

For the meringue

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a circle on the paper using an 8-inch or 9-inch cake pan as a guide. Flip the parchment over so the pencil marking is facing down (this ensures that the pencil won’t transfer to the meringue).

2. In a bowl, beat egg whites and salt. Begin beating at low speed, slowly increasing to high. Continue until satiny peaks begin to form; gradually beat in sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating well until meringue is stiff and glossy.

3. Gently fold in cornstarch, white wine vinegar and vanilla.

4. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the paper. Shape into a disk, flattening the top and smoothing the sides.

5. Place in oven and immediately reduce heat to 150°C (300°F). Bake for 1¼ hour. Turn off heat and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven.

For the topping

6. In a mixing bowl, combine strawberries, vanilla, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

To finish the dish

  1. To serve, carefully peel off parchment and place meringue on a platter or cake stand.
  2. Gently crack the top with the back of a spoon to make a shallow nest for the whipped cream and berries.
  3. Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Spoon evenly over meringue.
  4. Cover cream with strawberries, allowing a small amount of their liquid to dribble onto the cream.
  5. Serve immediately.

For the octopus

  1. Mix all ingredients.

For the mayonnaise

  1. Blend all ingredients at low speed until the mixture has a creamy consistency. Once done, blend in a cup of fresh coriander.

To finish the dish

  1. Spread mayonnaise on bread, put octopus mix on top and sprinkle with coriander leaves.
  2. Garnish with orange slices.