Gwyneth recommends making Blueberry Pavlova after making fresh pasta, since the recipe calls for egg whites, and you just happen to have a ton of egg whites laying around after your probably disastrous homemade pasta attempts. So, that’s what I did.
The recipe is really simple, and – a rarity for Gwyneth – is made up of mostly things I have around the house (aside from blueberries, which Fred Meyer inexplicably didn’t have stocked, causing me to schlep all the way to Trader Joe’s in the rain). Beat egg whites, salt, and vinegar until “soft peaks” form. Add sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla extract, and whisk until “stiff peaks” form. I didn’t notice a huge difference between “soft” and “stiff” peaks (that’s what she said?), but this was all going on in the middle of my pasta meltdown on Sunday night, so I didn’t really care by this point.
Anyway, I had apparently just made my first-ever meringue. I spooned it out into 8 blobs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and made little divots in the blobs. Baked it for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, and then turned the oven down to 200 and baked for another hour. Then, for the last hour, I was supposed to turn the oven off, and let the meringues cool in the oven, “propping the door open with a wooden spoon.” Um, this is odd. Especially because my oven door can hold itself open. But Gwyneth says wooden spoon, so I shove a wooden spoon in the door. Four hours into making pasta, I needed something to entertain myself.
Then I crushed up some blueberries, which felt kind of wrong to do for some reason, and whipped my own cream (again, that’s what she said. Very sexy stuff, these pavlovas). I folded the crushed blueberries into the cream, and topped the now-cooled-and-crispy pavlovas with a heap of the whipped cream, sprinkling some extra blueberries on top.
(I should note – because they will yell at me if I don’t – that most of my friends had jumped up at this point and had mostly finished wiping the kitchen of any evidence of pasta-making, which made me feel a million times better.)
These pavlovas, let me tell you, were awesome. The meringue cookie base was light and delicious, with a really interesting texture, and homemade whipped cream is just always the best thing ever. We all unanimously loved them, and they really helped wipe some of the shame off of me after the pasta disaster. (Gwyneth only recommends this recipe after making pasta for the whole egg whites thing, but she should also say that it’s a great way to remind your friends, after you completely fuck up the pasta, that you can do something correctly every once in a while.)
The pavlovas were so good that Kevin and Adam weren’t willing to share the last one, and decided to gamble instead for it. Kevin won, and he didn’t even give Adam a pity bite. These pavlovas will turn any friends against each other.