Pink Peppercorn Pavlova with Strawberries, Vanilla Cream, and Basil Syrup
  • Basil syrup:
  • 1/3 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • Meringues:
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • Strawberry coulis:
  • 1 (1-pint) basket strawberries, hulled
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Vanilla cream:
  • 3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 (1-pint) basket strawberries, hulled, quartered
  • Fresh basil leaves (for garnish)
  1. For basil syrup:
  2. Blanch 1/3 cup basil leaves in small saucepan of boiling water 30 seconds. Drain, then transfer basil to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain; squeeze out excess water from basil. Puree basil with corn syrup in blender. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight to allow flavors to develop. Bring basil syrup to room temperature, then strain through sieve into small bowl.
  3. For meringues:
  4. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 275°. Firmly trace six 21/2-inch circles on parchment paper, then invert onto baking sheet. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, beating to medium-firm peaks. Mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch in small bowl. Gradually beat sugar-cornstarch mixture into meringue; continue beating until very stiff. Beat in white wine vinegar. Fold in peppercorns. Divide meringue between circles; spread to fill completely. Bake until outside is dry, about 25 minutes. Turn oven off and open door just slightly. Let meringues cool in oven until completely dry, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
  5. For strawberry coulis:
  6. Puree berries and sugar in blender until smooth.
  7. For vanilla cream:
  8. Place cream and sugar in medium bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Using electric mixer, beat cream to soft peaks. do ahead Coulis and vanilla cream can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.
  9. Place small dollop of vanilla cream in center of each of 6 plates. Spoon circle of strawberry coulis around vanilla cream. Top each with 1 meringue. Spoon generous amount of vanilla cream atop meringues. Top with quartered strawberries and fresh basil leaves. Drizzle basil syrup over and serve.