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Pavlova revisited

May 22, 2009 |  6:01 pm

Pavlova1 When berry season starts to peak, I can't help but obsess about this Pavlova. It's a recipe that was published with a story by Amy Scattergood a couple of years ago, and it probably has crossed my mind at least once a month ever since then. Now that berries are looking pretty glorious and a long weekend is ahead: well, hel-lo, Pavlova. Maybe I'll make two -- one with fresh berries and one with roasted cherries and apricots splashed with Armagnac. (The recipe calls for just cherries, but you can substitute quartered apricots for some of the cherries. I haven't spotted Blenheims yet, but have seen some pre-Blenheim varieties.)

The base is a spectacular meringue, as big around as a pizza. It's crisp and toasty on the outside and marshmallow-y on the inside. It then gets topped with vanilla or cinnamon whipped cream and all that great summer's-coming fruit. Happy long weekend.

See the recipes after the jump. 

-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: Eric Boyd / Los Angeles Times

Pavlova shell

Total time: 25 minutes, plus baking and cooling time

Servings: 10 to 12

Note: Adapted from a recipe by Jenni Barnett

8 egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups superfine sugar

4 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Draw an 8-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper and line a baking sheet with the parchment.

2. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk or using a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until peaks form, about 3 minutes.

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

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

5. Pile the meringue onto the parchment paper, using a 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 degrees.

6. 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.

Each serving: 184 calories; 2 grams protein; 44 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 49 mg. sodium.

**

Roasted cherry Pavlova with cinnamon whipped cream

Total time: About 20 minutes, plus cooling time

Servings: 10 to 12

1 pint whipping cream, chilled

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 pounds fresh cherries, stemmed but not pitted

6 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons Armagnac or Cognac

4 1/2 tablespoons almond oil

1 1/2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise

1 Pavlova shell

1. Place the cold cream and the cinnamon in a large bowl (if using a standing mixer, place the ingredients into the bowl of the standing mixer). Using a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, a handheld mixer or a balloon whisk, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Chill until ready for assembly.

2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the cherries, sugar, Armagnac or Cognac and almond oil. Scrape seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture and combine. Pour the mixture into a medium baking dish and bake until the cherries are slightly soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before assembling the Pavlova.

3. When ready to assemble, place the cooled Pavlova shell on a large platter. Mound the whipped cream in the center, then spoon the roasted cherries over the cream. Cut into slices at the table.

Each of 12 servings: 471 calories; 4 grams protein; 68 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 20 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 54 mg. cholesterol; 64 mg. sodium.

**

Berry Pavlova with vanilla whipped cream and pistachios

Total time: About 20 minutes, plus macerating time for the berries

Servings: 10 to 12

Note: Banyuls vinegar is available at Surfas in Culver City, Nicole's in Pasadena and the Cheese Store of Silver Lake. You can also use balsamic vinegar.

1/4 cup shelled pistachios

2 pints strawberries

1/2 pint blueberries

1/2 pint blackberries

1/2 pint raspberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon Banyuls vinegar

1 pint whipping cream, chilled

1 vanilla bean, split

1 Pavlova shell

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pistachios on a baking sheet and toast until just lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

2. Carefully rinse the strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Hull and halve the strawberries. Place berries in a bowl with the sugar and vinegar. Set aside to macerate for 30 minutes.

3. Pour the cold whipping cream into a large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer if using). Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream. Using a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, a handheld mixer or a balloon whisk, whisk the cream until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Chill until ready for assembly.

4. When ready to assemble, place the cooled Pavlova shell on a large platter. Mound the whipped cream in the center, then spoon the macerated berries over the cream. Crush the pistachios slightly (using a rolling pan or heavy pot); sprinkle the pistachios over top. Cut into slices at the table.

Each of 12 servings: 402 calories; 5 grams protein; 63 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 16 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 54 mg. cholesterol; 65 mg. sodium.

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