Ever find ourself with an abundance of egg whites and no idea what to do with them?  I made custard (creme anglaise) earlier this week to go with Dorie’s roasted rhubarb, so needed the yolks of seven eggs.  A few years ago, before I knew that you could freeze egg whites, I would have just let them go down the drain – regretfully, of course, but down the drain, nonetheless.

However, thanks to ziplock bags and the wonders of a freezer,  you don’t have to let your whites go to waste.  Me, my favorite way to use them up is by making Pavlovas – so lovely and light, they are the perfect complement for summer berries!

This recipe is adapted from Nigella’s Christmas book, but I’ve reduced the sugar a bit.  The original makes it just that little bit of too sweet.  I served it with strawberries, but you can use any kind of berry … or sliced mango.  Traditionally, it’s topped with whipped cream then the berries, but with the mister’s cholesterol, I leave out that out – and, for me, the dessert still works.

Nigella’s Prodigious Pavlova with Strawberries

  • Large punnet strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 tsp sugar (I like either vanilla sugar or lavender sugar)
  • 8 egg whites
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a medium bowl, sprinkle the strawberries with sugar and set aside to get nice and juicy while you make the Pav.  Put the whites in a VERY clean bowl for a standing mixer (if in doubt, rub the inside with a lemon segment to get rid of any residual oils, then wipe with a clean cloth).  Add a pinch of salt and use the whisk attachment to beat them to stiff peaks, then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time.  Don’t be tempted to add the sugar too fast or the mixture will become runny.  The whites will go from matt to glossy, but the mixture should remain very thick – in fact, the test of a good Pav is that you can turn the bowl upside down and it won’t budge.  When you’re done adding the sugar, remove the bowl from the stand so that you can add the corn starch, vinegar and vanilla all at once and fold it in by hand.  Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper, then mound the mixture onto the sheet, smoothing the top and sides to a nice, high, round cake shape.  Pop it in the oven, then immediately turn down the temperature to 225 F and bake for an hour.  Turn off the oven and leave the Pav in there to finish cooking.  Don’t worry if you see a couple of cracks, that’s okay.  When it’s cooled, you can serve one of two ways – either invert it onto a plate and remove the parchment paper, then top with the whipped cream and berries OR just slice it like you would a cake and serve it with the berries on the side (I like to drizzle the top with a little of the juice).

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