Friday, July 4, 2008

Pavlova Dessert

About a year ago, the Los Angeles Times ran an article about pavlova desserts. I had never tasted one, much less made one. The idea of a light meringue with a fruit topping intrigued me. Sometimes a great dessert notion needs time to come to fruition.

Here she is. Her rather earthy exterior hides her divine taste. Surprisingly simple. Bake the pavlova shell, let cool. Then top with fruit. I used a fantastically tasty balsamic rhubarb compote with fresh strawberries.

Pavlova Shell
4 egg whites room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups of superfine sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Serves 4-6.

Heat oven to 350°F. Draw 4-5 inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Beat egg whites and salt with whisk attachment on mixer (if you do it by hand, holy-moly, please share your story in comments) until peaks form, about 3 minutes.

With mixer on medium speed, whisk in the sugar a little at a time, then turn machine back to high to fully incorporate.

Add the cornstarch and whisk to blend, then add vinegar, when incorporated, whisk in vanilla.

Pile meringue onto parchment paper, using spatula to spread the meringue around the circle and piling the sides slightly higher than the middle. Put into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 300°F.

Bake the meringue for 1 1/2 hours, then turn the oven off and prop open the door. Let the meringue cool down completely. It can be stored uncovered for several hours.

Balsamic Rhubarb Compote
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger root
2 fresh rhubarb stalks, leaves discarded, ends trimmed, and stalks cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Mix together in saucepan. Let simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Makes about 2 cups.

1 comment:

  1. Whisking by hand isn't such a big deal!

    An efficient ellipse that grabs the bulk of the liquid but doesn't waste much effort by impacting against the bowl, the right tempo, and a persistent lifting motion, are really all that's required.

    I learned from some cooking show or other...I think they were making old-fashioned omelettes. Youtube might help, if you're interested.

    It especially helps to fix you attention more on the volume of air included, than the number of bubbles: Splitting a big bubble several times is easier than making several dozen small bubbles outright, so I'd recommend trying to maximize the number of large bubbles, especially early on.


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