optional: Spicewalla Sumac, mint leaves, basil leaves, edible flowers
Heat oven to 340°F. Trace a round 10" plate or cake pan on parchment paper, then flip parchment over and line baking sheet. Set aside.
Using a little bit of lemon juice or white vinegar, wipe down all tools that will touch the meringue. Your meringue will not set up properly if there is any residual grease or fat on your tools.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high speed until foamy and starting to firm up.
With mixer running, add caster sugar a little bit at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat on medium-high to high until stiff, glossy peaks have formed, 5–7 minutes. NOTE: Wondering if your meringue is ready? Rub a wee bit of the mixture between your fingers. If you can’t feel the sugar, you’re good to go!
Gently fold sifted cornstarch into meringue mixture.
With a large, round tip, pipe meringue onto parchment, filling in your pre-drawn circle.
Place meringue in the oven and immediately turn oven temperature down to 255°F. Bake for 1 hour.
After meringue has finished baking, turn the oven off, but DO NOT open the oven door. Allow meringue to cool in the oven for 1–2 hours.
If you’re baking the meringue the day before you’ll be preparing the full pavlova, immediately transfer cooled meringue to a sealed container.
Vanilla Cream (Vaniljkräm):
In a small or medium pot, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, granulated sugar, and vanilla bean paste until smooth. Set aside.
In another medium pot, whisk together milk and confectioners’ sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off burner.
Slowly pour a third of hot milk mixture into egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly. (This gently raises the temperature of the eggs so that they don’t end up scrambled.)
After egg yolk mixture has been tempered, place its pot over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly until mixture starts to thicken. Turn burner under milk pot back on to medium-high. Pour egg yolk mixture into milk mixture, then whisk constantly until mixture reaches your desired thickness.
Remove from heat and whisk in butter.
Place a metal sieve over a heat-safe bowl, then strain vaniljkräm. Immediately press cling film directly onto surface. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to fridge to chill for 1 hour or overnight.
Assembly & Decoration:
When it’s just about dessert time, place metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment in freezer for 15 minutes.
In the chilly bowl of a stand mixer fitted with cold whisk attachment, whip heavy cream until slightly stiff peaks form.
Retrieve your vaniljkräm from the fridge. If it’s no longer a spreadable consistency, mix it a wee bit to loosen it up.
Place meringue on serving platter. Spread vanilla cream on top of meringue, smoothing with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
Next, spread whipped cream over vaniljkräm.
Scatter chopped strawberries on top of whipped cream. Sprinkle some sumac over the strawberries, if you like.
If it suits your fancy, add botanical garnishes such as mint leaves, basil leaves, or edible flowers. (We used sumac and tiny basil leaves to finish our pavlova!)
If you don’t have caster (AKA superfine) sugar, very briefly blitz granulated sugar in a spice grinder or blender. Don’t grind too much, otherwise you’ll end up with confectioners’ sugar.
If you have leftovers, you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container, but just know that the meringue will be much softer (and possibly even mushy) the following day. But while it doesn’t have as many different textures on day 2, the pavlova is still delicious!