Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Christmas Pavlova

Pavlova is a meringue cake that has a light and delicate crisp crust, soft center, and a mound of whipped cream. Then, it's topped off with fresh fruit and sometimes a drizzle of pomegranate-lemon juice. This lovely dessert gets its appeal from the carefree assembling. Just throw on the whipped cream and generously scatter the pomegranate seeds and kiwi. Adding the fresh fruit makes pavlova delish. It adds cheerful colours, contrasting textures, and just the wow factor when you bring it to the dinner table.

8 large egg whites
pinch of salt
2 1/4 cups (17.5 oz or 500 g) superfine sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon rosewater
2 pomegranates
juice of 1/2 lemon (1 1/2 tablespoons)
2 cups (12 oz or 500 mL) whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F for a convection oven). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw an 8-inch (20 cm) circle with a pencil.

Beat the egg whites and salt with an electric beater until thick soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar, a scattered spoonful or two at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cornstarch, vinegar and rosewater, and gently fold into the meringue.

Pour and scrape the meringue into the middle of the circle — if it is well and thoroughly beaten it should flow no farther than the outer edges of the circle. Using a spatula, roughly flatten the top and smooth the sides. For a more careless look, pour the meringue onto the parchment and add spikes. 

Place in the preheated oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 300°F (275°F on convection). Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes (less time for a convection oven), during which time the meringue will puff up. Turn off the heat, open the door and stick a wooden spoon to keep the oven door slightly ajar. Leave to cool sitting in the oven — it should be left to cool in the oven until shortly before serving, or alternately it can be cooked ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for a week or so.

When ready to serve, juice and strain half of one of the pomegranates — it's far easier to do this if you have an electric juicer provided you don't juice any of the skin, but pomegranates can also be reamed like lemons with a little bit of muscle. Put the strained juice in a small saucepan with the lemon juice and bring to a light boil. Let bubble for several minutes until the juice thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the seeds from the remaining pomegranate half and whole. There are several methods for doing this, including scoring the pomegranate into quarters and immersing in a large bowl of cool water, then gently prying away the quarters and seeds. Another method, which while messier is much more satisfying and probably a little faster, is to hold a pomegranate half cut side down over a large bowl and bash it with a wooden spoon. The seeds will start to fall out slowly, but after repeated bashing the poor things are practically begging to get out.

Whip the whipping or double cream until thick and airy but not stiff. Remove the meringue from the oven and gently invert onto a large flat-bottomed plate, peeling off the parchment paper. Pile on the whipping cream without regard for neatness — part of the charm of a pavlova is its carefree appearance. Scatter pomegranate seeds and kiwi cubes generously over the whipping cream — you may have more than you need, but they are terrific snack by themselves. Finally, drizzle over the pomegranate juice and bring it to the table.

Bon app├ętit!

1 comment :

mom said...

Good job Claire! Keep up the good work!