Many, many years ago in a land far, far away Grandma Grabbert got a recipe for pavlova from New Zealand. Although it was labor-intensive, she made it religiously for every major holiday. After I left for college she even made it just for me when I got back.
The only problem was that I hated pavlova. I used every means possible to escape the pavlova trap. Then last year, after an avalanche of once disdained foods became palatable to me, I tried pavlova again. It was wonderful. Grandma Grabbert uses strawberries and kiwis to decorate it. This recipe calls for rose petals and raspberries, but we had peaches, strawberries, and blueberries, so that is what we used. If you use rose petals, be sure they were grown without piesticides and were intended for human consumption.
The best thing about this pavlova is that Mom made the whole thing while I lounged on the couch. She is such a good mom, and I am such a bad daughter. Do you love me anyways, Mom?
Dreamy Rose Pavlova
4 egg whites
1 1/4 C sugar
2 t cornstarch
1 t red or white wine vinegar
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/4 C heavy cream
2 t rosewater
2 1/2 C chopped fruit
edible rose petals to decorate
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure the bowl you use to whisk the eggs is spotlessly clean and grease-free. Add egg whites and whisk until they stand in peaks.
Mix together the sugar and cornstarch, then add the egg whites in 2 or 3 batches, whisking all the time to achieve a beautiful, glossy white meringue mixture. Finally, stir in the wine vinegar and vanilla extract.
Spoon the mixture onto the parchment paper, gently spreading it out into a circle 8-9 inches in diameter. Place in a preheated oven, 350 degrees, turn the heat down to 300 degrees, and bake for 1 1/4 hours, or until crisp. Let it cool in the oven if it isn't so brown that it will burn.
Whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks, then whisk in the rosewater. Heap this on top of the pavlova and cover with the fruit and rose petals if you are using them. Serve as soon as possible, though it can wait up to 24 hours.