The story goes that Pavlova, a dessert which both Australia and New Zealand lay claim to, is named after the prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, who performed in both countries in the 1920s. Ms. Pavlova’s tutu, billowing round with layers of lace, is the inspiration for the creamy meringue dessert. This simple version combines a crackled, speckled meringue disk — crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside — and a swoopy crown of salted whipped cream. Fans of the marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal will delight in this four-ingredient Pavlova, whose flavor is reminiscent of those hearts, stars and horseshoes. Here, the “cookies” in cookies-and-cream are, as ever, Oreos, which lend that dreamy teeter-totter of milky white and bittersweet black.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 4large egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- ¾cup/151 grams granulated sugar
- 10chocolate sandwich cookies (113 grams), such as Oreos
- 2cups/480 milliliters heavy whipping cream
- 2tablespoons granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 5chocolate sandwich cookies (57 grams), such as Oreos
Step 1Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Step 2Make the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the egg whites and salt. Whisk on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. While the machine is still going, slowly add the sugar in a narrow stream, then raise the speed to high. Whisk the egg whites until glossy, stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. When you lift the whisk out of the bowl and turn it upside-down, a meringue mountain peak should form without flopping over.
Step 3Coarsely crush or chop the 10 cookies and add to the meringue. Gently stir with a rubber spatula or large metal spoon until the cookies ripple throughout.
Step 4Mound the meringue onto the center of the parchment-lined sheet pan and, using the spatula or spoon, gently form into a round that’s about 8 to 9 inches wide and 2 to 3 inches high. You can encourage this shape by repeating a circular motion that swirls the meringue and creates lovely waves so the surface doesn’t look smooth. When you’re happy with your disk, make one final circular motion in the center to create an indent, where you’ll pool the whipped cream later.
Step 5Bake the meringue for 1 1/2 hours, then turn off the oven, leaving the door shut, and let the meringue finish cooking in the residual heat until crisp and dry on the outside with a springy, marshmallowy interior (but it should not be wet), 15 to 30 minutes. Remove the meringue from the oven and let it sit on the counter to cool completely.
Step 6While the meringue cools, make the topping: In a large, clean bowl or in the stand mixer (with a clean bowl), whisk together the heavy cream, sugar and salt until billowy soft peaks form. When you turn the whisk upside-down, a peak of cream should flop over slightly like a Santa hat.
Step 7Pile the whipped cream on top of the cooled meringue, leaving a border, and top the cream with the 5 cookies, crushing them over the cream with your hands or chopping them and sprinkling them on top. Slice and serve the Pavlova like a cake.