Monday, November 19, 2012
Secret Recipe Club: Pavlova
I am so excited for this month's edition of the Secret Recipe Club! First, I was assigned a blog that I have drooled over for a long time, Manu's Menu. The photography is stunning, and the recipes mouthwatering! I especially love the regional Italian recipes. Italy is my dream vacation. Someday, I'm going to spend 2 weeks eating fabulous Italian food and seeing the beauty and history that Italy has to offer. But until then, I have to settle for what I can make at home, and Manu's Menu is a great resource.
I had a terrible time trying to figure out what to make this month. The short list ended up being very long. I'm putting Focaccia di Recco on my Christmas Eve menu, along with my homemade ravioli, and the Apple Strudel is so rustic and looks so yummy that I'm making it as a dessert for Thanksgiving.
So as you've probably already noticed, I chose Pavlova this month. I was so excited to see this recipe. It's something I've wanted to make forever, but was too intimidated. It's also something that was on my culinary bucket list. Notice I said "was".
Now, I'm not going to say this dessert came out perfect, because it isn't the easiest thing to get right. I had some cracks and part of it was hollow in the center, but it was delicious and beautiful and gave me enough confidence that I'm going to make it again soon. I'm also going to use these great tips for getting it right.
For the meringue base
6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 ½ cups caster sugar (I used granulated sugar)
3 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
Sliced fruit of you choice. I used strawberries, bananas and kiwi.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Draw an 8 disc on the paper and turn it ink-side down. Tracing an 8 inch dinner plate works great. Set it aside.
With an electric beater, beat the egg whites just until firm peaks form. Then, gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is thick and glossy. Add the corn starch, vinegar and vanilla and beat for 1 minute more. NOTE: if you over beat the egg whites, the meringue is likely to collapse and crack during baking
Spoon the meringue mixture onto the disc and shape it into a “cake” with furrows using a spatula.
Bake it in a preheated oven at 300°F for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 230°F and bake it for 1 extra hour or until the meringue is crisp and dry. When ready, turn the oven off, but leave the meringue in the oven with the door closed, to cool completely.
Whip the cream with the 2 tbsp of sugar until firm peaks form and spread it on the top of the pavlova. Decorate it with the sliced fruits.