Freestylin’: Pavlova with Blackberry Sauce

This summer our longtime farm partner in Chillicothe, Ohio, will grow up to 10,000 pounds of blackberries—destined for flavors like Brambleberry Crisp—just for us. Luckily some of these gorgeous, sweet-as-candy blackberries found their way to the test kitchen at Jeni’s HQ so we could have some Freestylin’ fun. Our motto: Keep it simple. When you have gorgeous, in-season berries like these you don’t have to dress them up.

We made ours the star in an easy and stunning pavlova—a dreamy dessert with a crackly exterior and marshmallowy inside adapted from the meringue recipe in Jeni’s first cookbook (meringue shells on page 198). It’s like eating a vanilla-scented cloud topped with fresh fruit. For a bonus twist we swapped out traditional whipped cream for Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt—a great way to keep the creaminess of the dish while taking the pleasant tart fruit flavor to another stratosphere.

Pavlova with Blackberry Sauce

Makes two, 8-inch pavlovas

  • 2, 8-inch meringue shells
  • 2 pints blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-2 pints of your favorite Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt
  • Mint sprigs for garnish

Make the meringue shells (recipe below).

Using a fork, lightly macerate fresh blackberries with sugar (the nicer your berries are, the less sugar they’ll need). Let macerated berries rest for roughly an hour to draw out more juice.

Top meringues with macerated berries. And, instead of whipped cream, add a few scoops of your favorite buttermilk frozen yogurt. Garnish with a sprigs of mint.

Meringue Shells

Makes two, 8-inch meringues (from page 198 of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home)

  • 4 large egg whites
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out and reserved
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with parchment paper.

Put the egg whites, salt, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until foamy (or use a hand mixer and a large bowl). Add the cream of tartar and whip until foamy. Slowly add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks.

Divide the meringue into two mounds on the baking sheet(s), leaving 2 inches between them. Using the back of a spoon, create a little hollow in the center of each one.

Bake the meringues until they are crisp all the way through and lift easily off the parchment about 2 hours. Let cool completely on a rack.

What is Freestylin’?

We’re glad you asked. Jeni designed her second cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, like a mixing and matching game. Her idea: Master one base recipe (like an empanada dough, pie crust, or macaroon cake), and then swap out ingredients or combine them with other recipes to create an entirely new dish that’s uniquely you. This is how Jeni cooks at home. It’s what she calls cooking between the pages, or Freestylin’. Our Freestylin’ blog series is where we share riffs on Jeni’s recipes for even more inspiration.