Saturday, April 16, 2011

Red Rover, Red Rover...

Let Pavlova come over! Our second attempt at a meringue went much better (and for some reason I had that chant stuck in my head the whole time). According to Bon Appétit a Pavlova is a "big meringue topped with lots of stuff" but has a more moist center than a normal meringue (more marshmallowy) and it was named after Anna Pavlova, a russian ballet dancer. It was created in Australia or New Zealand (a point of much contention) when she was on tour.  Regardless of the history it was delicious!
The original recipe called for orange-flower water which I did not have (shocker, I know) but I read online that almond is often a good replacement so whenever the recipe called for orange-flower water we used almond extract. All three taste testers agreed that the almond flavoring complemented the dish much better than orange would have.
Other ramblings: I think this might be better than strawberry shortcake. Blasphemy I know. I'm just not a huge fan of shortcake in strawberry shortcake. I love strawberries and whipped cream but throw in the shortcake and I'm not crazy about it unless it's some topnotch shortcake. And as far as I can tell, coulis is just a fancy word for fruit puree.
Strawberry-Almond Pavlovas
(Bon Appétit) 
2 large egg whites, room temperature
8 tablespoons sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Strawberry Coulis:
1 12-ounce basket strawberries, hulled, quartered (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Strawberries and Whipped Cream:
1 12-ounce basket fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 275°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using cookie cutter or glass as aid, trace six 2 1/2-inch circles on parchment, spacing 2 to 3 inches apart; turn parchment over.
2. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks begin to form. With mixer running, gradually add 6 tablespoons sugar.
3. Whisk 2 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch in small bowl. With mixer running, gradually beat sugar-cornstarch mixture into meringue. Continue beating meringue until stiff glossy peaks form.
4. Beat in vinegar and almond extract. Divide meringue among parchment paper circles, spreading to fill completely (meringues will be about 1 1/2 inches high). Using back of spoon, form slight depression in center of each meringue.
5. Bake meringues until beige and dry to touch, about 20 minutes. Turn off oven and prop door open slightly with wooden spoon. Let meringues cool in oven until completely dry, about 1 hour. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
Strawberry Coulis:
1. Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth. Cover and chill.
Strawberries and Whipped Cream:
1. Mix strawberries, 1 tablespoon sugar, and almond extract in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature until sugar dissolves and juices form, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
2. Using electric mixer, beat chilled cream, vanilla, and remaining 1 teaspoon sugar in another medium bowl until soft peaks form.
Spoon small dollop of whipped cream in center of each plate. Place 1 meringue atop whipped cream on each plate, pressing lightly to anchor meringue. Spoon generous dollop of whipped cream in center of each meringue. Spoon coulis around meringues; top with sliced strawberry mixture

1 comment:

  1. Haha, I had never heard of this until I came to Tonga - it's the favorite (or should I say..favourite) food of one of my Kiwi friends. I first tried it at a party with both Kiwis and Aussies and they definitely argued over where it came from! Funny. We had it with Passion Fruit coulis instead of strawberry - YUM. Passion Fruit is the most delicious thing ever, eat the seeds too - they're deliciously tart :)