When strawberries are in season, to me this is the start of summer. The most simple recipe for strawberries, so that the strawberry flavour of freshness shines through is just by stemming and slicing the strawberries in a bowl topped with vanilla ice cream or whipping cream or yogurt.
For the July 1 holiday weekend, for your company or family, up the dessert a notch to give it a WOW, try the Pavlova. It is a fast and easy recipe and looks divine.
The Pavlova is crisp and snowy on the outside and marshmallow-like on the inside. It can be stored for a few days in an airtight container but may be crisped again in a slow oven. I find by using the egg whites from fresh farm eggs that the whites will hold their peaks better and you get more volume. This is a very light dessert. You can use any other fruit in season or make a mixture.
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup superfine sugar (you can use regular sugar by processing it in the food processor for 5 minutes)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp white vinegar
1 cup whipping cream
2 tsp superfine sugar
2 quarts fresh strawberries or more
Lightly oil or butter a baking sheet and line with parchment paper (very important to use parchment). Draw a circle 8-inch in diameter in the centre of the parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites until stiff enough to hold soft peaks. Slowly beat in the sugar, a few spoonfuls at a time. This will take 2 to 3 minutes. The resulting meringue will be shiny and soft. Sift the cornstarch over it and lightly fold it in along with the vinegar.
Drop the meringue onto the centre of the circle on the prepared sheet. With a spatula, spread it out to the lines of the circle keeping it to the same thickness. Smooth the top and sides (I will give the circle an edge, which will help, after it is baked, to keep the strawberries from falling off the Pavlova).
Bake in a preheated 250°F oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet. Store in an airtight container or use immediately.
Hull and slice the strawberries and toss with a bit of maple syrup or honey
Whip the cream with the sugar until stiff.
Place the meringue onto a serving dish. Spoon the whipped cream over the entire surface. Mound the fresh fruit on top.