Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pavlova

This is such a kiwi staple! And so it is rather ironic that the recipe I used here is from How to Eat: Pleasures and Principles of Good Food, except that in the preamble to the recipe Nigella says that the recipe comes from Stephanie Alexander's weighty (and amazing!!!) book The Cook's Companion 2, so at least I knew it would be authentic and failsafe!
I make pavs all the time, Nigella seems to have a real thing for them and many incarnations of it appear in her books. I have still not tried the chocolate and raspberry version even though I am sure it would be lovely. Somehow I can't bring myself to adulterate the recipe that much! I am a fan of the classic version and nothing is nicer than having it topped with cream and a tart fruit such as passionfruit, berries or kiwifruit. It is incredibly simple to make and is a lovely light dessert.
Once again, the leftovers left with the guests!!!

Pavlova

4 eggs whites (at room temperature)
pinch salt
1 1/2 c caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
few drops of vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, whipped until firm
fruit for top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch (18 cm) circle on the paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. (Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers). Sprinkle the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, fold in.

Gently spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. (You want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.)

Turn oven down to150 C and put the pav into bake for 1 hour until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)

The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.

Just before serving gently place the meringue onto a serving plate. Whip the cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue. Arrange the fruit randomly, or in a decorative pattern, on top of the cream. Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold for more than a few hours.

Serves 6 to 8.

2 comments:

Coby said...

I haven't tried the chocolate version either. I DO think it sounds fab, yet, like you Linda, I continually find pleasure in making the original version again and again:) Yours look beautiful, the strawberries and the plate are Christmas red:) One question - do you flip your pav, or leave it 'right' side up?:)

Linda F said...

I did flip it this time Coby, on Nigella's recommendation, although I had never done it before. It did seem to make a difference too!