I almost didn't put this recipe up because it's just too easy. I could've done so many fancy things with this pavlova (strawberry fluid gel, meringue shards, diplomat cream, and strawberry powder were all thoughts floating around in my mind), but I didn't. Sometimes, all you need is a few fresh strawberries and some sweetened whipped cream.
It's weird that I have this feeling of guilt for putting something so simple up on the blog. I try to do more challenging things for the most part - whether it's making something look perfect or a technique that most people find difficult - and by putting up a recipe that barely even requires a recipe feels almost like a cop-out to me. I bet there's a hundred other recipes out there for this exact thing, yet here I am adding one more to the list.
The potential to make this dessert something different, something more, was very tempting. Part of me really wanted to make this a 6 or 7 component dessert with all kinds of fancy and delicate details.
But then I thought to myself,
"What do I want to eat? Right now, do I want to eat fluid gel and meringue shards and strawberry powder? Is that really going to make this dessert that much tastier?"
And the answer was not really. Yeah, I could've done those extra things and it probably would've been tasty, but would it have been better than a simple vanilla chantilly and fresh strawberries? I don't think so. 'Cause this was one tasty dessert.
Sometimes I need a little reminder that things don't have to be complicated and challenging to be good. Something that takes very little effort and skill is just as worthy of being on this blog as my fanciest macaron or mousse cake.
Strawberries and Cream Pavlova
Makes 5 individual pavlovas
125 g egg whites
pinch of salt
250 g granulated sugar
200 g heavy cream
20 g icing sugar
2 g vanilla paste or 1 vanilla bean
For the meringue nests, preheat the oven to 200 F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine the egg whites and pinch of salt. Whip on medium-high speed until the egg whites look foamy and frothy. Slowly stream in the sugar, then increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture is glossy and holds stiff peaks.
Portion the meringue into five mounds on the baking sheet and use a spoon to create a well in the centre of each one.
Bake the pavlovas for 1 1/2 hours, then turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven to cool completely.
For the chantilly, combine the heavy cream, icing sugar, and vanilla paste (or seeds from the vanilla bean) and whip on medium-high until medium peaks form.
Rinse your strawberries and halve some of them, while keeping the rest whole.
When ready to assemble, spoon the chantilly into the meringue nests and top with strawberries. Dust with a bit of icing sugar and serve immediately.