Of all the naturally gluten-free desserts out there, pavlova might be my favorite. (Or at least a close second to the French macaron.) It's an unassuming dish—essentially just a giant meringue, right? And then you take a bite and your mind is blown. It's crispy up front, with a soft marshmallow-like center that reveals itself shortly after. It's wildly sweet, but the mellow whipped cream and tart berries even everything out. It's the perfect dessert to serve at a low-key gathering, where people don't mind a little mess and imperfection.
Pavlova with Whipped Coconut Cream adapted from Smitten Kitchen
For the meringue:
4 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon arrowroot starch
1 cup cane sugar
Preheat oven to 250°F and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and trace a 7-inch circle on the paper. Mix the vanilla and vinegar together in a small bowl and set aside. Stir the arrowroot starch into the sugar in another small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites and salt on low. Increase speed gradually to medium until the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, about 2-3 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and slowly sprinkle in the sugar-arrowroot mixture. After a few minutes, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar. Increase speed a little and whip until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 4-5 minutes. Spread the meringue inside the circle on the parchment paper, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check at least once during the cooking time to make sure the meringue is not burning. Once the outside is dry and firm to the touch, turn off the oven, leave the door slightly open, and allow the meringue to cool completely before removing. Fill the center with whipped cream (see recipe below), raspberry sauce*, and fresh raspberries.
Whipped Coconut Cream
1 13.5 ounce can of full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the can of coconut milk overnight in the fridge. Flip the can upside down and open from the bottom. Pour out liquid at the top of the can and scoop out remaining "cream" underneath. In a cold bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, whip the coconut cream. When it starts to become smooth, add the sugar gradually and then the vanilla. Whip until fluffy and store in the fridge.
*Note: I followed the instructions for Deb's raspberry sauce exactly (except I subbed fresh berries for frozen), so refer to her original recipe if you'd like to make it!