Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pavlova with Strawberries

This is from The Silver Palate Cookbook. The Pavlova is a meringue based dessert which was created in honor of the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. Like her, as the story goes, it is light, airy, and elegant.

I'll tell you this. It is absolutely delicious. Everyone had two helpings.

It is also much, much easier than you might imagine. If you've got a mixer for whipping the egg whites it will be a real breeze. If not, however, hand whipping will do just fine. It will just take a little while. I'd say that more important than a mixer would be the superfine sugar which blends so easily into the egg whites.

I've worked with meringue cookies enough that when I realized I didn't have an 8" springform pan, I didn't panic. Instead I experimented and it worked out just fine (details of that are in the recipe). The guest of honor whose visit inspired this dessert production doesn't drink so I didn't use any liqueur on the strawberries. It was delicious anyway, of course.

This is from Wikipedia because
I forgot to take a photo of mine, which looked just like this,
except it had sliced strawberries.

4 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream, chilled
2-3 cups strawberries, sliced and sprinkled with sugar and Grand Marnier

1. Preheat oven to 275 F. Butter and lightly flour an 8-inch springform pan. [I didn't have a springform pan. I traced an 8" circle on parchment paper, using a cake pan and pencil. No buttering or flouring needed that way. Put the parchment on a cookie sheet.]

2. Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar together in a bowl until the whites hold a stiff peak. Add the sugar a few tablespoons at a time, beating until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Beat in the cornstarch, then the vinegar, and the vanilla.

3. Gently fill the pan with the meringue mixture, spreading it higher around the edges than in the center of the pan to form a depression. [If using my "panless" method, spread the meringue over the circle and build the edges up ... or conversely, gently put a depression in the middle of the meringue so that one has a hollow shell form.]

4. Bake until the meringue is firm and lightly browned about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. [I baked it for 1-1/2 hours.] Pavlova will remain moist inside. Cool slightly, unmold, slide onto a serving plate, and cool completely.

5. Lightly whip the cream. Just before serving, spread the pavlova with whipped cream and then with the strawberries. Serve immediately.

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