Sometimes, Jill Chen is totally in my head.
While she makes dandelion wine, I think about making rhubarb wine. When I make a honey and saffron cordial, Jill would gladly side up to the bar for a sniff or a taste or two. Sometimes on the very same night, we’ll both dream about making ice cream cake and then, we’ll make them. Just like that.
Frankly, Jill and I lament living 600 miles away from each other; 600 miles makes it kind of hard to meet up for tea or a glass of wine after a long week. But it doesn’t stop us from emailing, and when she emailed me these photos yesterday as a potential holiday weekend post, I was delighted and inspired.
Guess what we’re having for dessert tonight?
Gwyneth Paltrow may be inside my head too. I’ve never met her, except for some coincidental same time, same place sitings a few summers ago, but I kind of love her new cookbook. (Yes, mock me if you’d like, but her recipes are the sort of food I want to cook and eat every day.) Gwyneth’s pavlova recipe is easy and a bit healthier than other ones I’ve seen. I look forward to giving it a shot today.
Happy Independence Day to Gwyneth, Jill and all of you lovely readers!
Strawberry & Blueberry Pavlova
Adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe in My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness
- 4 organic large egg whites
- Pinch fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries and strawberries, or any fresh fruit, plus more for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
Combine egg whites, salt, and white vinegar together in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Combine the 3/4 cup sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl and add to the egg whites in thirds, whisking each addition in completely. Add the vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon the meringue in 8 big spoonfuls as Gwyneth does in her recipe, using a spoon to spread them in a circle, and then make an indent in each, or simply spread the entire meringue into whatever shape you desire – Jill did a rectangle.
Bake for 10 minutes, lower the heat to 200 °F, and bake for another hour. Turn off the heat and cool the meringues in the oven for an hour, propping the door open with a wooden spoon.
Meanwhile, whip the cream together with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. In a small bowl, crush 1/2 cup of the blueberries with a potato masher or a spoon to release their juice. Fold those and the rest of the blueberries into the cream if you like, or use as a topping over the egg whites and cream. Evenly distribute the cream on the meringues. Top with juicy blueberries and strawberries, and serve.
All photos styled and taken by Jill Chen.