Coral Ferry's Pavlova

For the base shell:

4 egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar - separated

1 teaspoon white vinegar

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the filling:

4 egg yolks

½ cup water*

1 tablespoon cornstarch

¼ cup granulated sugar

8 ounce container (3 cups) Cool Whip whipped topping or sweetened whipped cream (recipe below)

¼ to ½ teaspoon mint extract, if desired

Assorted fruit and berries

Mint leaves

For base shell:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. If desired, draw a 10" to 12" circle in the center of one side of parchment, turn over so ink surface is facing down.

Prep: Place 4 egg whites in large bowl. Measure and set aside ¾ cup granulated sugar. In small bowl combine remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch, set aside. In small bowl combine white vinegar and vanilla, set aside. Have cream of tartar handy.

With an electric mixer, or stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites together until frothy. Add cream of tartar; mix to thoroughly combine. While mixing, gradually add ¾ cup sugar until combines, scraping down sides of bowl. Continue to beat while gradually adding cornstarch and sugar mixture. Finally, add vinegar and vanilla mixture and beat until stiff peaks form. To test; remove whisk and turn upside down; if peaks hold, you are done.

Spread egg white mixture within circle on parchment, making sure sides are high than the center to hold filling. You can make decorative swirls and peaks if desired.

Place baking sheet in oven and bake 75 minutes. Do not open oven during baking. At the end of baking time, turn oven off, and without opening oven, allow the Pavlova to remain in oven until completely cooled. This may be done the evening before serving and left in the oven overnight to cool.

For the filling:

In a small sauce pan, combine egg yolks and water. In a separate bowl combine cornstarch and sugar; mix well. Add cornstarch mixture to eggs; whisk to combine until there are no lumps.

Place pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. If mixture isn't smooth, press through fine mesh sieve, into bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing onto custard surface to keep skin from forming while cooling. Place in refrigerator to cool.

When ready to assemble; custard will be firm, so whisk briskly together with one-third of whipped topping to loosen, folding remaining whipped topping together into mixture until combined. Add mint extract; stir to incorporate. Place into center of shell, spreading to "walls." Top with fresh fruit and garnish with mint leaves.

Top with additional whipped cream if desired.

*For a richer filling, substitute whole milk for water.

Sweetened whipped cream: Place ¼ cup confectioner's sugar in bowl; add 12 ounces (1½ cups) heavy cream and whip until peaks form. Carefully fold into custard to maintain as much volume as possible.

Serves 8

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