A cloud of baked marshmallow-like egg whites with a lemon hint
A fluffy pillow of whipped cream
Juicy fruit, fresh mint
I’m living in a dream
Need I say more?
Ok, I’ll say more.
First, it’s the first time I’ve written a little poem for food, so that says something.
Second, I promise you we did not coordinate the clothes to match the pavlova.
Third, remember the macarons? How can you not (if not, click here immediately)?! When I posted about my first macaron making attempt a reader, Giovanna, commented that the addition of jam and whipped cream “made them sort of Pavlovarons”. Ha! Pavlovarons – I loved that!, and then it hit me. I had a Pavlova sitting on the back burner, figuratively speaking, waiting to see the light of day. Waiting for you. Waiting for the world. It has been patiently waiting for about….. nearly 3 weeks! Ts ts ts, this really not OK. So, I had to mop the dust off of it and do it justice. Here it is.
Much better. Isn’t she a beauty?
We had friends come over a few weeks ago for lunch and games for the kids and the adults. I made lunch and of course, I wanted to make dessert, but which one? Some people have a sensitivity to dairy, some are gluten-free, but I had to have dessert. Then I saw a gorgeous photo of a pavlova in Jamie Oliver’s wonderful “Cook” book (remember the whole cauliflower?) and I thought, “A-ha! I got it! Pavlova”. It has eggs, no flour, no dairy, and there’s fruit… Only at midnight, 10 minutes before falling asleep, I realized that heavy cream is… em… dairy. Oops. Now what? I turned in bed from side to side all night. I love whipped cream so much that I’m denial that it can make someone feel bad.
I went ahead and made it anyway but planned to leave only half of the pavlova filled with whipped cream and the rest un-creamed which will be served with dairy free ice cream. The planned worked out great. Our friends did ended up eating a little bit of whipped cream. No one reported being sick which I hope was not because they didn’t want to tell me… And I fell in love with pavlova. I can easily see many more Pavlova desserts in my future. Can you see it?
I baked the shell a day ahead but whipped the cream, filled the shell with it, and added the fruits just before serving. Right in front of my guests. Well, we were sitting in the kitchen anyway… And, yes, I “styled” and photographed it as they sat across the table and watched me do so… That felt kinda weird… I’ve never done this before non-family people. They watched me silently and I tried to work – with clean hands, touching their food – as fast as I could. I wondered what went inside their heads while I pulled out my big white Styrofoam that I use as a reflector… But I’d say, in light of circumstances, it turn out pretty well, right?!
Vanilla Pavlova with whipped cream and seasonal fruits[print_link]
Basic meringue recipe adapted from “Cook with Jamie” cookbook
Makes…. well, that depends… 1-10 servings?
For the meringue:
6 large egg whites
1 cup + 5 tablespoons superfine sugar
a pinch of salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest, optional
Preheat the oven to 300 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 12*4 inch rectangle with a pencil on the paper, then turn the paper over so the drawing is on the bottom side. (This way you won’t get a pencil mark on the meringue.)
Put the egg whites in a clean and dry mixer bowl. Whisk on medium speed until the whites look thick and form firm peaks. With the mixer running, add the sugar slowly and the salt. Turn the mixer to high speed and whisk for 7-8 minutes until the meringue looks glossy. (Optional – half a minute before the meringue is done, add the lemon zest.) Resist the temptation to dive into the beautiful white cloud inside the bowl! Using a spatula or a big spoon, spread the meringue onto the parchment paper following the edges of the rectangle.
Bake for 1hour until crisp outside and still soft and marshmallow-y inside. Take out of the oven and let cool.
For the whipped cream:
2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk the cream with the sugar and vanilla in a mixer bowl (or use a hand mixer) until firm. When is starts to thicken and leave whisk “marks” follow closely so you won’t over-whisk it.
Add sliced fruits and chopped mint, and… 1, 2, 3, attack!