"if you wish to be glamorous, become a cake baker" -The Joy of Cooking

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year Pavlova

OH PAVLOVA...how do I love thee...let me count the ways.

I love your crisp outer shell and gooey, marshmalloey center, your softly whipped cream and tangy fruit.  You really are just perfect.

I was introduced to Pavlova by my all time favourite food writer Nigella Lawson.  She said this dessert was named after the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova because the whipped egg whites reminded the pastry chef of her tutu.  This is definitely one of my absolute favourite desserts to eat and is so simple to make.  This recipe comes from her book How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking.

Here is the base of the pav, it is totally normal for it to have cracked and sunken a little like shown here.  All it really is, is a kind of giant marshmallow but better, its light and airy and so delicious.  Nigella writes, "I love the contrast between the crunchy, edible jewels on top and the soft, yielding cream and marshmallowy base beneath." 

For the base you will need 8 egg whites, pinch of salt and 500g of sugar.  With the whisk attachment beat the whites and the salt until foamy, then slowly add the sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Then fold in 1tbsp of cornstarch and 2 tsp of white vinegar.  I added in 1tsp of vanilla.  Nigella's recipe calls for rosewater.  Next, draw a 20cm circle onto your parchment lined baking sheet.  Mound the whites onto the baking sheet within the circle and smooth the sides and top.  Place in a 350 oven and immediately turn your oven down to 300 and bake for an hour and 45mins.  This will cause the pav to have a crispy, crunchy outer layer and a soft, light and marshmallow like centre. Once it has finished baking, turn off the oven and crack the door open a bit and let the pavlova cool completely like this.

For the topping you will need 500ml whipping cream.  I added a little sugar (not too much because the meringue is so sweet) and the seeds from a vanilla bean.  I wanted this pav to be extra special because it is such a special occasion.  Whip the cream and the sugar and vanilla beans until thick but not too stiff. Pile the cream onto the meringue.  Sprinkle the seeds of 1 pomegranate over the top.  You could add raspberries or strawberries instead.  You could also shave over some dark chocolate as well. Nigella makes a syrup to drizzle over the top by juicing 1 pomegranate and the juice of half a lemon and letting it boil until thick and when that cools drizzle over the fruit and cream. 

I decided to just sprinkle over some pomegranate seeds.  I think it looks so pretty and festive.  Please try this. It is so good.

Happy New Year and Happy baking :)

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