I love desserts that are unabashedly beautiful. Dishes that just beg to be looked at, admired, and praised…

…they’re gorgeous on their own, and little effort is put into their appearance, but when compared to other, more structured desserts, they stand apart.

Case in point: this Raspberry Pavlova, with its cloud-like base and seemingly sinful sauce. The whipped cream topping of course takes away a bit of its innocence (nobody’s perfect…), but the fresh raspberries that dot the top quickly help the dessert redeem itself, and the cream immediately gets set aside as a dirty little secret.

Each layer has something different to offer: the meringue’s crust, while crunchy, immediately melts in your mouth, and the rest of the ingredients quickly follow suit. The whipped cream – wait! What whipped cream? I thought we forgot about that! Moving on… the sauce, which is made in mere seconds, is smooth and satisfying, with light hints of vanilla and wine that give depth to an otherwise simple dessert.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Raspberry Pavlova

Serves 8

1 ½ teaspoons white vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons corn starch
Pinch of sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites, at room temperature*
¾ cup granulated sugar

1 cup whipping cream
3 cups fresh raspberries
¼ cup red wine
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, corn starch, salt, and vanilla; set aside.

3. In a large bowl fit with an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy and somewhat stiff; with the mixer on, add sugar in increments of one tablespoon every five seconds. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, and then blend in the mixture from step 2.

4. Tranfer the egg-white mixture to the parchment-lined baking sheet and spread it out into a 10-inch circle with slightly raised edges, like a nest. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, and then reduce heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until light golden in colour, about 1 hour, and then turn off the oven. Let cool in the oven with the door closed, about 2-3 hours.

5. Remove meringue from the parchment and transfer to a serving dish. Whip cream until soft peaks form, and then distribute over top of the pavlova, leaving the outer 2 inches uncovered.

6. In a blender, combine 1 cup raspberries, wine, sugar, and vanilla; blend until smooth, and pour over cream. Top with remaining raspberries, slice, and serve.