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seasonal recipe

Recipe for Pavlova with strawberries

SALLY PASLEY VARGAS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Makes one 9-inch cake or enough to serve 6

Australians and New Zealanders argue endlessly over which country created this dessert, named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured the world with her ballet company into the 1920s. The crisp meringue is as light as an arabesque, with a slightly soft interior, perfect for heaps of whipped cream and summer berries.

MERINGUE

1cup sugar
4egg whites
1pinch salt
1teaspoon vanilla extract
6tablespoons sliced almonds

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1. Set the oven at 300 degrees. Cut a piece of parchment to fit an unrimmed baking sheet. With a pencil, draw a 9-inch circle in the center. Turn it over and place it on the baking sheet.

2. In a food processor, grind the sugar for 1 minute, or until very fine.

3. In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, or until the whites form firm peaks. With the mixer on medium speed, add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Turn the speed to high and beat for 5 minutes. Stop the machine and dip your index finger into the meringue; rub it between your finger and thumb. If it feels gritty, continue to beat for 1 minute more, or until it feels perfectly smooth in your fingers. With the mixer on low, beat in the vanilla.

4. Use a dab of the meringue to put a tiny amount under the four corners of the parchment to anchor it to the sheet. Spoon the remaining meringue into the circle and, with the back of a spoon, spread it to the edges. Sprinkle all over with almonds.

5. Bake for 1 hour, or until the meringue is crisp on the outside but still a little soft inside. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the baking sheet. Transfer to a flat cake plate.

FILLING

cups heavy cream
1tablespoon sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract
1quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
Few leaves fresh mint (for garnish)

1. In an electric mixer, beat the cream and sugar until it forms soft peaks. Beat in the vanilla.

2. Spread over the meringue. Top with berries and garnish with mint leaves.  Sally Pasley Vargas

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