When we asked chef Alex Guarnaschelli to pick one of her mom’s recipes to share with us for Mother’s Day, she didn’t hesitate with the answer: pavlova. “[It] turned any ordinary dinner into an occasion,” the chef of New York’s famed Butter restaurant says. “It was the occasion.”

The pavlova’s gorgeous presentation alone is worth a standing ovation. The sweet, delicate meringue creates a cloud on which a tumble of tart, seasonal berries perch. But despite the dessert’s beauty and delectability, Guarnaschelli doesn’t whip up many batches herself. She tells us, “I prefer it when my mom makes it for me!”

Ain’t that the truth? Nothing beats dish made with mother’s love.

Read on for the delicious recipe!

Want more of our Mother’s Day special featuring chefs’ favorite family desserts? Pick up the May issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.

Still hungry? Try more of our decadent Mother’s Day desserts:

Pistachio Biscotti Cookies

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

Chocolate Cream Pie

 

Pavlova with Berries

Prep time: 25 minutes

Bake time: 80 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients:
1 lb. mixed fresh strawberries and blackberries
Juice and half the zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground allspice
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
4 large egg whites, room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, scraped (use seeds only)

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, toss berries with lemon juice and zest. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and allspice. Mix well and refrigerate.
2. Remove all racks from oven except the one closest to the top. Preheat oven to 275°F.
3. In a medium bowl, mix sugar with cornstarch; set aside. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed for 8–10 minutes, until egg whites hold their shape and the whisk leaves a path in the whites.
4. Switch to medium speed; add sugar mixture tablespoon by tablespoon, waiting until each spoonful is incorporated before adding more. The meringue should be firm and glossy.
5. Onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet coated with nonstick spray, spoon meringue into a large round. Tidy up the edges of the round with a kitchen towel.
6. Place sheet in the oven and bake undisturbed for 45 minutes. Rotate and bake for another 20 minutes. The round should be crusty when (very gently) touched. If not, bake for another 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
7. Using the whisk attachment, beat cream and vanilla seeds until somewhat stiff.
8. Top meringue with whipped cream and berry mix. Serve immediately.