Asperitas, the new cloud type, inspires lofty, billowy meringue dessert


The cloud, in iconic form, drifts white and puffy. Annoying the professional. The International Cloud Atlas recognizes 10 genera, 15 species and nine varieties. Way more precise than “that one looks like a duck.”

Now we’ve got a new cloud (OK, supplementary feature): asperitas. Perhaps it’s long been lurking overhead. But it wasn’t until the Cloud Appreciation Society took up its cause that the rare formation landed a rare honor: an addition to the atlas. 

Asperitas is hard to miss. It’s an ominous, roiling cloud, all wake and chop. Staring up at its face feels like falling into rough seas. Indeed, asperitas means rough. It’s a magnificent effect. 

In appreciation of the Cloud Appreciation Society, why not construct an asperitas pavlova? Meringue, which tethers the tart, eagerly heaves into crests and troughs. As does whipped cream, which surfs the top. Roiled dark with blueberry mash, it’s a dramatic dessert, one worthy of its stunning namesake. 

——— 

ASPERITAS PAVLOVA 

Prep: 30 minutes 

Bake: 1 hour 

Wait: 1 hour 

Makes: 8 servings 

Meringue: 

4 egg whites at room temperature 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 

1 pinch salt 

1 cup sugar 

Berries: 

12 ounces fresh blueberries 

1/4 cup sugar 

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 

1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water 

Cream: 

1 pint heavy cream 

2 tablespoons sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1. Prep: Press a large square of parchment paper into a 9-inch round cake pan, lining bottom and sides, leaving some overhang. Heat oven to 275 degrees. 

2. Whip: For meringue, slide egg whites into mixer bowl. Drop in vanilla, cream of tartar and salt. Using the whisk attachment, whip frothy, about 30 seconds. Still whipping, slowly cascade in sugar to form glossy, sturdy peaks, 2-3 minutes. 

3. Bake: Scrape meringue into the prepared pan and spread out. No need to level the surface; revel in the undulating topography. Bake until the top is golden and feels crisp to the touch (center will be soft), 1 hour. Turn off heat, and let meringue cool in the oven, at least 1 hour. 

4. Mash: For berries, tumble half the berries into a large saucepan. Stir in sugar and zest. Cook over medium-high heat, mashing into a purple sauce, about 3 minutes. Stir in cornstarch slurry; let thicken, 30 seconds. Stir in remaining whole berries. Let cool. 

5. Whip: For cream, whip cream, sugar and vanilla to soft peaks. 

6. Build: Grasping parchment, pull meringue out of pan, and peel off parchment. Just before serving, slide berries into cream and fold gently once or twice, leaving bold streaks of white and purple. Heap berry cream onto meringue. Admire. Slice and serve.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Cooking and Recipes

Shrimp and grits, rendered healthful and Italian? We're in.
Shrimp and grits, rendered healthful and Italian? We're in.

Polenta and grits are not exactly the same. But they are close cousins, both made from medium-to-coarsely ground corn that cooks into a creamy, satisfying bed for a saucy entree. One of the pairings for the cornmeal porridge is as iconic as "milk and cookies" and "peanut butter and jelly" - namely, shrimp and grits. Once I get that...
Amid Midtown’s bustle, a street-level tea party for all
Amid Midtown’s bustle, a street-level tea party for all

Every Thursday around noon, a cheery woman lugging several large bags stakes out her spot on a busy walkway near the northwest corner of Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan. The woman, Liz Gannon-Graydon, 54, corrals a few tables and chairs amid the bustle and noise and sets up the kind of tea party that seems more suitable in a formal parlor or a fancy...
Let’s Eat: Sticky wings with honey and Sriracha
Let’s Eat: Sticky wings with honey and Sriracha

We’re over a month into the regular NFL football season. By now you should be perfecting your skills for that great pre-game eating experience known as tailgating. Instead of the typical hot Buffalo flavor, why not shake up your tailgate Sunday with sticky, spicy Asian-style hot wings? These are baked, then sauced and served with a cool cucumber-lime...
Safeguarding seeds that may feed the future
Safeguarding seeds that may feed the future

Ali Shehadeh, a seed hunter, opened the folders with the greatest of care. Inside each was a carefully dried and pressed seed pod: a sweet clover from Egypt, a wild wheat found only in northern Syria, an ancient variety of bread wheat. He had thousands of these folders stacked neatly in a windowless office, a precious herbarium, containing seeds foraged...
Party like a kid on Halloween with these kid-friendly books and recipes
Party like a kid on Halloween with these kid-friendly books and recipes

Do your kids love Halloween candy and costumes, but quaver at creepy decorations and horror stories? If so, we've got your back. Try reading these three Halloween books, which will make you laugh, warm your heart, occasionally make you groan in disgust, but never truly scare you. Children can help make the accompanying recipes based on the stories...
More Stories