are you going to a fourth of july bbq? if so, this is the dessert to bring. glossy swaths of bright white peak out under a blanket of ripe red syrup, dotted with a sprinkling of blueberries. why it's red, white, and blue, you say? how perfect to . a fitting birthday cake indeed, perfect to commemorate our country's birthday. i'm sure our founding fathers would pleased to be represented by this delight.

oh, but there is one little snag. the pavlova is already taken. it is unofficially the nationally dessert of australia and new zealand, after it was made in celebration of a world tour by russian ballet dancer anna pavlova. their answer to apple pie, pavlova is found on most tables during christmas time. no matter, i'm sure they will share. it is too good to keep to yourself.

mixed berry pavlova
, from smitten kitchen

4 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1 cup regular sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

preheat oven to 250°F (130°C) and place rack in center of oven. line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch circle on the paper.

pour the vanilla and vinegar into a small cup. stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.

in a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. a few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar. increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.

gently spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center.

bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. check on meringues at least once during the baking time. if they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around. turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (the outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)

raspberry sauce

1 10-ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons sugar

puree the raspberries in a food processor, blender or immersion blender. heat the puree in a small pot with three tablespoons of sugar, until it is heated through and the sugar is dissolved. cool the sauce.

whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

whip the cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. when it starts to thicken, add the sugar gradually and then the vanilla, beating the cream until firm.

right before serving, spread the whipped cream on top of the meringue and drizzle the raspberry sauce over. dot with ripe blueberries.
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