How's the weather where you live? It's been cold, rainy, and snowy in Maryland. We're at that point in the year where it's cold and dreary every single day. The farmer's markets are closed and it's hard to get fresh produce.
Last week when I went to Giant Eagle I saw a large display of fresh Florida Strawberries. Just seeing the bright red berries brightened up my mood! I love that I can go to my local market and pick up these juicy red berries in the winter. They are available from November through April which makes them the perfect winter berry.
After getting the strawberries home I started thinking about what I could make with them. In the past I've made some delicious salads using Florida Strawberries including a Strawberry Pecan Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing and a Balsamic Pork Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese. While I love salads, this time I was thinking a strawberry dessert would be good.
I love desserts but since one of my resolutions in the new year is to eat healthier I wanted to challenge myself to make a healthy strawberry dessert. Now that's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one...healthy dessert? But I was determined to make one that my husband and I could enjoy guilt free.
Since Florida strawberries are already a healthy choice they are the perfect ingredient for a healthy dessert. Did you know that 8 medium strawberries contain more vitamin C then one orange? Plus strawberries are virtually fat free and contain no cholesterol so if I could just find a sweet vessel to put them in I knew I could make one healthy and delicious dessert.
As I started thinking about a dessert my mind went to a Pavlova. A Pavlova is a meringue dessert filled with fresh fruit and some type of cream. While I've never made a Pavlova or even tasted one before I was convinced this was the dessert I need to make. I thought that a Pavlova topped with a light lemon cream and fresh Florida Strawberries would be just what I needed to brighten up this cold winters day.
Since I didn't want to just throw some strawberries on top I decided to roast half of the strawberries with balsamic vinegar to give them a nice, deep flavor and then put fresh strawberries on top of that. For the lemon cream I used lemon curd mixed with light whipped topping. It was the perfect combination because it was light, fluffy, but packed a lot of lemon flavor.
The meringue was surprisingly easy to make. It takes a while since it has to bake for an hour and then cool for an additional hour in the oven. However, when I pulled it out of the oven it looked amazing! I quickly topped it with the lemon cream followed by the balsamic roasted strawberries. Then I piled fresh strawberries on top of that.
The resulting dessert was incredible. It looked gorgeous and super impressive. The Florida Strawberries were large and juicy on top of the dessert. The meringue was crisp on the outside but soft and almost marshmallow like on the inside. The combination of the meringue with the bright lemon cream, the tangy balsamic strawberries, and the sweet Florida Strawberries on top was amazing. I ate two large pieces and didn't feel bad about it! The strawberries only pack about 45 calories per cup and the meringue is low in calories as well! You can find more nutritional facts about Florida Strawberries on their website.
I made a guilt free dessert that not only tasted delicious but looked good too. So get out there and purchase a container of fresh Florida Strawberries and make your own Roasted Strawberry Pavlova with Lemon Cream tonight! Don't see Florida Strawberries in your grocery store? Ask your local store manager or produce manager to carry fresh Florida Strawberries.
For the meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ c. sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the roasted strawberries:
- 2 c. Florida Strawberries, stems removed and halved
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the lemon cream:
- ¾ c. lemon curd
- 1 ½ c. light whipped topping
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 c. whole Florida Strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the egg white and salt and beat with a mixer on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the mixer to medium high speed and add in the sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time until thick, shiny peaks form.
- Once the peaks are stiff sprinkle them with the cornstarch, cream of tartar, and vanilla and gently fold to combine.
- Mound the meringue in the center of the prepared pan and form it into a circle. Try to make the inside more shallow than the edges so as to form a shallow bowl.
- Bake for one hour.
- After baking for one hour turn off the oven and allow the meringue to cool inside of the oven for an addition hour. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- To make the roasted strawberries preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In an 8 x 8 baking dish toss the halved strawberries with the sugar, balsamic vinegar, vanilla, and salt. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- To make the lemon cream mix together the lemon curd, whipped topping, and vanilla. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To put the Pavlova together gently place the meringue on a serving plate. Spread with the lemon cream. Then spoon the roasted strawberries on top of the cream.
- Top the entire dessert with fresh Florida Strawberries.
- Serve immediately.
- *Refrigerate any extras for up to 1 day*
A Hezzi-D Original Recipe
This post is sponsored by Florida Strawberry in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.
Florida Strawberry is having an awesome giveaway! The giveaway is going on now and ends on February 12, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. To enter, submit a fabulous photo with Florida strawberries and receive a FREE Florida Strawberry cap plus get entered for a chance to win a getaway to Florida at the TradeWinds Island Resort in St. Pete’s Beach. Airfare, accommodations, and a tour of a strawberry farm in Plant City for up to 4 people is included! Click HERE to enter now and check out this link for the official rules.
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