Cherry Berry Creamy Pavlova
This do-ahead dessert mimics an Australian Pavlova because of its meringue crust, however Aussies would generally include kiwi, other fresh berries and even bananas for the topping and they probably wouldn’t have the luscious creamy filling. It’s great for summer parties since it is made ahead and serves a crowd. The meringue crust contains no fat at all, so don’t feel too guilty about the whipped cream that comes on top. Experiment with other berries throughout the summer, but one thing’s for sure – served chilled, this tart and sweet dessert will be a hit at your next summer gathering!
Early in the morning, the day before serving, make this:
6 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups sugar
Beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt (to stabilize the foam). Continue beating at high speed with an electric mixer and once it becomes opaque, gradually start adding the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until sugar is no longer gritty when rubbed between two fingers and the meringue mixture is very thick and has a marshmallow like texture. Spread in a 9x13 inch pan and bake at 275° for one hour. Turn oven off and leave in the oven all day long –do not peek!
Later that day:
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
1 8 oz. block of lower fat cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whip cream until stiff – set aside. Soften cream cheese with a spoon and mix in sugar and vanilla. Blend the cream cheese mixture with the whipped cream. If meringue is lumpy, press it down so it’s even – and don’t fret if it’s cracked. Spread cream over the baked meringue. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Morning of 2nd day:
1 20-oz. can ‘lite’ cherry pie filling
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
Combine the pie filling and strawberries and spoon over cream cheese almost to edges. Refrigerate. Enjoy chilled.