August 17, 2010

Showstopping Australian Pavlova Dessert

I made this dessert for a going-away dinner for friends that moved to Australia. First, let me tell you I LOVE Australia. I spent 3 months there and would go back in a second (hint hint Charlotte). Second, my love of Australia developed when I was a teenager, so I absorbed any and all facts I could learn about the country through National Geographic and such since there was no internet then (yes, I'm that old). One thing I learned was this dessert. It is named after a famous Australian Ballet dancer who was "light as air on her feet". The whole dessert is set on a light as air meringue.

It's the perfect dessert for entertaining and blowing your guests away with presentation. It's really easy, but it looks incredibly hard. It does require planning ahead as the shell needs to be made the night before you want to serve it.


Pavlova

1 c sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 225°. Stir or whisk together sugar and cornstarch in small bowl. Beat egg whites in mixer bowl at medium-high speed 1 minute then add cream of tartar and salt, beating until blended. Gradually add sugar a little at a time, beating at medium-high speed until mixture is glossy with stiff peaks. Remember the Citrus Pie lesson? Do not overbeat! Beat in vanilla.
Gently spread mixture into an approximately 7-inch round on a silicon baking mat lined baking sheet, making an indentation in center of meringue to hold filling.


Bake at 225° for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until pale golden and outside has formed a crust. Turn oven OFF and let meringue stay in the oven with door closed overnight (around 12 hours).

The next day you can make the whipped cream for the filling. You could also fill with lemon curd or even a yogurt based cream, but I'm partial to fresh whipped cream as my mother-in-law will tell you.

Homemade Whipped Cream

1 c heavy whipping cream
1/8 - 1/4 c powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 tsp vanilla

Put cream in mixer bowl with wire whisk (like you did with the meringue above). Turn on med-high and whip the cream until it starts thickening. Then slowly add sugar and continue whipping and taste for sweetness. When the cream holds stiff peaks, add the vanilla and you have made the most delicious whipped cream ever! Use on pancakes, pie, cobbler, ice cream sundaes, jello, fresh fruit, or just lick it off your finger! In this recipe, you will spoon the whipped cream into the meringue shell and then mound fresh berries over the top. Serve immediately or the shell will soften and not be crisp and crunchy.


Photobucket

2 comments:

  1. VERY pretty Aimee, I too would love to go to Australia, maybe we could go together and you could show me around! :) At least I could come to your house and have some of this yummy pavlova! I'd settle for that!

    ReplyDelete

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