Monday, June 1, 2009

Easy Yet Spectacular Dessert - Strawberry Kiwi Pavlova

This classic dessert, which originated in Australia, was created and named for legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova. While it makes a spectacularly impressive dessert, it's really very easy to accomplish, especially if you have an electric hand mixer. The directions below are for one large Pavlova that can then be cut into 8-10 servings, but you could easily make 8 individual cream and fruit filled meringues instead.

While strawberries and kiwi are traditional fruit fillings for a Pavlova, don't limit yourself. Try peaches, blueberries, raspberries or any other fresh fruits that appeal to you.

6 egg whites at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

about 2 cups sliced strawberries and kiwi
2 cups whatever fresh fruit strikes your fancy

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix together cornstarch, pinch of salt and pinch of cream of tartar, set aside.

Take enough waxed paper to make a double layer and wet it under the faucet, crinkling it a bit. Smooth the wet waxed paper onto a baking sheet. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites -- gradually adding sugar, vinegar and vanilla --until very stiff. Fold in cornstarch mixture. Pile the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the pile into a rough circle, then hollow out the center slightly so the indentation makes a shallow "bowl" in the meringue -- see photos.

Place meringue bowl in oven, close the door quickly, turn off the heat and don't open the door for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove from oven and carefully peel off the waxed paper. If the meringue cracks a little, don't worry, you can make minor repairs with whipped cream later. You can prepare the meringue (or individual meringues) up to this point and store for a day or two in an airtight container before continuing.

Whip cream and confectioner's sugar together.

Immediately before serving fill the indentation with the sweetened whipped cream and pile the sliced fruit in the center of the cream. Bring out to the table and get ready for ooh's and ahh's!

More on Strawberries
Click here for the Strawberry feature, including tips for buying and storing strawberries and tons of terrific strawberry recipes!

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