Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pavlova for 1 OR 10

Calling all marshmallow or meringue fans!  This dessert fills both cravings.  Crusty outside like a meringue and marshmallowy textured innards - sweet love, sweet, sweet love!
Your toppings are up to your own desires, any combination of fruit, whipped cream, chocolate drizzling over top COME ON NOW!

Thanks to my good friend JoLo, I made this dessert for a wild night of cards at a friends house on her recommendation.  It turned out pretty good!  I do have some tweaks to make for the next time (i.e. I would make the thickness greater, I would not put as much Grand Marnier in my whipped cream - because I liked that taste, and maybe I would just make a few extras for just me - tee hee)  Instead of making it more like a cake - which is apparently how you eat it, I made individual portions, nothin says you have to do it the way it was written right?

So, since I had never heard of it before of course I had to Google it - I know, nerd right?  Didn't you notice I said wild night of cards?

I'm gonna Geek it up a little more here: 
The dessert is named after the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova apparently after she visited New Zealand but the dates of the "first" rendition are sketchy - thank you Wikipedia!  Now, I am no Pavlova buff, in fact, I have to say I am not a fan of ballet or opera for that matter but I do know she was a famous dancer in the late 1800's early 1900's. 
Seems as though this recipe is a fit for her - rough exterior yet soft and smooth inside. 

She apparently was known to perform not to the standards that we might think of today - bent knees, incorrect turns and placements however she turned into a beautiful artist and is quite famous.

You're welcome for the history lesson

So on to dessert....


4 large egg whites

1 c. superfine sugar (I use regular sugar and grind it in my magic bullet - coffee grinder would work too)
1 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. Grand Marnier
Fresh fruit - I used strawberries and blackberries but you could use kiwis, raspberries, passion fruit, peaches, pineapple, or other fruit of your choice

Pavlova: Preheat oven to 200 degrees  and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, fold in.

Gently spread the meringue in circular form on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. (You want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.) About 5 cm high.

Bake for 1 hour or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)

The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.

Just before serving gently place the meringue onto a serving plate. Whip the cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Sweeten with the sugar and liquor and then mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue. Arrange the fruit on top of the cream. Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold for more than a few hours when put together.

Thanks Jo and Joy of Baking for this recipe - I have to make it again so I can post photos!!
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