Australia: Pavlova

Great_Australian_Bight_map

So, it has taken me a long time to write this post about the delightful dessert called Pavlova. I actually tried to make this recipe a little while ago and I totally messed it up. Whoops. So I decided to give it another go. This time, it turned out so well!

Pavlova is a dessert which is a meringue shell upon which you fill with whipped cream and fruit. It is extremely delicious, and also very easy to make (which sounds ironic because I totally messed it up the first time..) The trick to pavlova, to get the meringue just right, is to beat the egg whites until they start to form stiff peaks. To be honest, I had never beat egg whites that much before, so I didn’t even know that they could reach that consistency. I used a different recipe the second time, hoping that maybe it was the recipe’s fault and not my own that my first attempt was a flop. πŸ˜‰

Now, before this, the only meringue that I had had was the meringue on top of lemon meringue pie. This is quite different. That meringue is all soft, but this meringue, because it is baked for an hour and fifteen minutes, forms a hard shell. This shell cracks, A LOT. The recipe said that while it is cooling, it would crack, mine didn’t though. It didn’t crack until I tried to move it from the pan to the serving plate. It was so beautiful before I began to move it. I wish that I had taken a picture of it to show you how nice it looked. I guess you’ll just have to take my word form it. Now, inside the hard shell is a light, fluffy meringue. It is so sweet, and so delicious with the whipped cream and fruit. Yummy! It was quite a lot for just the two of us… but I’m not complaining. Now we get to eat the leftovers for the next few days to come! πŸ™‚

Anna-Pavlova-costumed-as-The-dying-swan-1

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. This dessert has kind of a funny reason behind its name. As some of you might have clued in, Pavlova is the last name of Anna Pavlova, the Russian prima ballerina (1881-1931). This dessert was created and named in honour of Anna Pavlova while she was on a tour in Australia and New Zealand. This dessert is named Pavlova, because she danced “as light as air” in reference to the light meringue. I thought that was a cute little fact. Pavlova is now considered to be one of Australia’s national foods.

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Pavlova

4 large egg whites at room temperature
1 cup of Castor sugar, also known as “Berry sugar”
1 tsp of white vinegar
1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch
1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1/2 cups of whipping cream
Fresh fruit
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 275F (140C) and place the rack in middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with foil and draw a 7 inch circle on the foil with the blunt edge of a knife (don’t tear the foil). Set aside.
In a clean, medium-sized metal bowl, beat the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.

Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time. Don’t just lump the sugar in the bowl and never stop beating the eggs until you finish the sugar. Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.

Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.

Now gently spread the meringue in the circle on the foil to make a circular base. Make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher then the center so you have a very slight well in the middle.

Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it goes a very pale, pinkish egg shell color.
Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly.

Just before serving, take the meringue out of the oven and remove it gently from the foil and place on a plate.

Whip the cream with the vanilla extract until it forms peaks. Prepare the fruit by washing and slicing.

Gently spread the cream to the top of the meringue with a spatula and arrange the fruit on top.

Recipe courtesy of: http://australianfood.about.com/od/bakingdesserts/r/Pavlova.htm

This recipe is definitely a keeper. It is so delicious! Jamie and I both really liked it.

Oh, I forgot to mention to you all. When I posted on Facebook that I was going to be making food from Australia, my friend who lived there for a year asked if I was going to be making kangaroo. At first I just laughed it off, but then I go to thinking, Hey, why kanga_roonot. I had actually seen a store in my city advertising unique meats like kangaroo and emu. I sent Jamie there on a mission to pick some up for me, but unfortunately the place is just a restaurant that sometimes features unique meats. So sadly, no kanga and roo for us. (Ps- it took me YEARS as a child to figure out that kanga and roo from Winnie the Pooh together made up the word kangaroo. I was a bright one!)

Well, that now makes 10 countries down, 185 left to go. If you missed my last post on Armenia, check it out here. I hope that you will continue to journey with me on my adventure cooking my way around the world.

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