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A Pavlova for a Summer Celebration

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A Pavlova for a Summer Celebration
Sweet Tea Pavlova with Peach Mousse, Lemon-Lavender Honey, and Macerated Peaches and Blueberries Photo by Callie Cranford

To me, the highest and best use of blueberries is combined with another of the season’s stars—ripe peaches. So when Pastry Chef Andrea Upchurch told me she was developing a peach and blueberry dessert for summer, I jumped at the chance to sample. Not only is she a friend, but one of the best pastry chefs I’ve encountered. I knew I was in for a treat.

Now please note, a fruit dessert is rarely my dessert of choice (and yes, I choose dessert often). I have eschewed those fruit pizzas at potlucks for years, and frankly, I don’t like how strawberries make the shortcake soggy. I reach for the cinnamon buns, the coconut cake and any, and I mean any, crème brûlée I can get my spoon near.

But this pavlova changed my mind. It is light and and bright and full of flavor, and is worth the time it takes to construct. Although its steps are many, none is difficult, and the results are simply spectacular. The tea and lavender flavors really come through, adding an herbal note that perfectly balances the sweetness of the macerated fruit.

“I think this would make a great alternative to a traditional birthday cake,” Upchurch says. “Just stick a little candle in there, and you have something different for a birthday celebration.”

I say, birthday or no, this dessert is a celebration, of Southern summer and the sweetness it can bring. A dessert made for a party, this one needs to be shared the day it’s made as it doesn’t keep well. No matter—you are not likely to have leftovers anyway, especially if you invite me.

Sweet Tea Pavlova with Peach Mousse,
Lemon-Lavender Honey, and Macerated Peaches and Blueberries

from Pastry Chef Andrea Upchurch of HGMI Restaurants, Charleston, SC