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In the heat of summer, the last thing you want to do is turn on your oven and warm up your kitchen, which makes baking desserts like cakes and pavlovas not so appealing. However, in his latest Mad Genius video, Justin Chapple has a tip for pulling off pavlovas without an oven, and rather, using a grill instead. Within an hour or so of cooking with indirect heat (more on that in a minute), he has perfectly crisp pavlovas that marry beautifully with fresh berries and a generous mound of whipped cream. It’s the ultimate summer dessert—the best part? Your kitchen still stays cool. Check out Chapple’s step-by-step guide for making the pavlovas below.
When all of the ingredients are in the stand mixer (egg whites, pure vanilla extract, cream of tartar), Chapple starts mixing everything slowly, so it gets foamy. Then, once the eggs start to build volume, you gradually add in the sugar at medium-high speed. You want the egg whites to become firm and glossy.
To check if the meringue is done, take off the whisk and look at how the meringue reacts. If the peak is “sad and droopy,” as Chapple’s is initially in the video, you need to mix for a few more minutes. But if it’s a stiff and shiny peak that holds firm as you move the whisk around, you’re good to go.
When the meringue is done, spoon it into six separate mounds onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Then, use the back of a spoon to swirl them into little “clouds,” as Chapple describes them. They should each be about four inches in diameter.
Once Chapple has spread out and shaped the meringues, he brings them over to the grill, which has been pre-heated to 225 degrees. You want to cook them with indirect heat—essentially, keep the other side of the grill hot but put them in a spot where there’s no flames underneath.
Chapple says it’s crucial that the grill temperature stays at 225 degrees, so make sure you monitor it throughout the cooking process. In total, the meringues will need to cook for about an hour to an hour and half.
After the meringues come off the grill, they should be crisp on the outside and almost dried all the way through. Let them cool completely—then, take a back of the spoon and crack the tops, shattering the exterior crust. (Chapple says this is a fun thing to do with kids).
For the finishing touch, pile on whipped cream—you can do as much or as little as you like, he says—and then spoon on the macerated berries, making sure to include the juices as well. The recipe calls for mixed berries, so take your pick. However, for summer, we recommend what’s in season, such as strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
Get the recipe here.