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8.8.11

PAVLOVA


I made several custards in the last few weeks and now I’m swimming in egg whites. Egg whites freeze well, nevertheless it was decidedly time I made a pavlova. Invented in Australia and named after a Russian ballerina, pavlova is a baked meringue that you top with whipped cream and fresh fruit. It’s crunchy on the outside, and soft and lusciously marshmallowy on the inside. Pavlova slices neatly, it is fast and easy to make. What can I say? Pavlova is a beautiful, beautiful dessert! I picked my recipe for success; you know it will work when you go with a Joy of Baking recipe. It called for 4 large egg whites, but thankfully the amount was also listed in grams; 120g precisely. When I measured it out in cups the egg whites were just below the 1/2 cup mark.

Pavlova should remain an off white color and slice neatly. However the majority of pavlovas I have seen were rock hard and fell apart the minute they were sliced into. I think the mistake people make is over baking the meringue. Mine was done in one hour. When the timer went off I turned off the oven and let the meringue cool down first. Eventually I opened the oven door, but just a crack. When I was satisfied that all the heat was gone, I removed the meringue and carefully slid it off the paper and onto the platter. The meringue can keep for a few days if unassembled. But once you arrange the pavlova it has to be consumed on the spot. Apparently you can keep it assembled for all of four hours, but by that time I think the meringue would have absorbed the whipped cream and the fruit juices and would no longer be as good as when it was first put together. This recipe gives 4 to 6 good sized desserts. If you are not making pavlova for company, one solution is to make serving size meringues and then you can stretch it out and consume the pavlovas more at leisure. Even though it is the same amount of meringue, the baking time would have to be reduced.

Meringue:
scant 1/2 cup egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

Topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp sugar
1 pkg. “Whip It” stabilizer
fresh fruit of choice

• Preheat oven to 250F and place rack in center of oven.
• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch circle on the paper.
• Turn the parchment paper over so the circle is on the reverse side.
• Set out meringue ingredients.
• In a medium large bowl beat the egg whites on medium speed until they hold soft peaks.
• Begin adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat, on high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff and shiny peaks.
• Rub a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty.
• If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.
• Beat in the vanilla extract.
• Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold in.
• Spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges.
• Bake meringue for 60 minutes or until the outside is dry and a very pale cream color.
• Turn the oven off and let the meringue cool down with the door closed.
• Open the door slightly to see if the oven cooled down completely.
• If there is no heat, remove the pan from the oven and place it on the counter.
• Using a pie server, carefully separate the meringue from the parchment paper.
• Then slide the meringue from the parchment to a platter.
• [The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.]
• To serve the pavlova, whip the cream until soft peaks form.
• Sweeten with the sugar and vanilla and sprinkle with a package of cream stabilizer.
• 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.





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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. This is to my old on-line friends and visitors: policing the comment section for spam and answering questions has become a chore. Good wishes to you all, happy cooking and keep on feeding your people with good food.

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