I am back from a glorious trip to Tuscany and the Italian Riviera (will post photos soon for those that are interested). I am confident that reflection on the many delicious things I ate will provide inspiration for new recipes. I am now living between Manhattan and Oxford for the next few years and I hope to bring you even more food from Europe.
Summer was officially over a month ago, but I didn’t have time to blog about this lovely pavlova I made for a dinner party in early September. I hope you will indulge this last wisp of summer scrumptiousness which I had promised in an earlier posting for meringue cookies.
A pavlova is a meringue topped with cream and fruit. Like a number of Antipodal treats, including Anzac biscuits, there is some controversy about its origin. What is clear is that the dessert is named for Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (pictured above - can you see the similarity?), and is said to have been created by a Kiwi chef during the dancer’s 1926 visit to Wellington. The Australians dispute this, though the earliest known reference is in a 1929 New Zealand magazine.
Like many good things from the colonies, the British have fallen in love with and popularized the pavlova. My introduction a decade ago occurred in Cheshire, England at the home of my friend Marilla (who now happens to live in New Zealand). And last week my friend Emily invited me over for dinner and served a spicy Thai curry followed by mini pavlovas (store-bought meringue called a “meringue nest” topped with Greek yogurt and her mother’s rhubarb and peach purée).
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 cup candied ginger, finely diced
1 large mango, diced
1 pint blueberries, washed and dried
1 pint raspberries, washed and dried
1. Preheat oven to 200 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add sugar slowly and continue to beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
3. Spoon mixture onto parchment paper creating a 12 inch circle with a slight, broad depression in the center (see photo above).
4. Bake for 90 minutes. Leave meringue in closed oven for a further 120 minutes. The meringue should not darken. If it does, the heat should be reduced to 150 or 175F (see photo above).
5. Carefully fold cardamom and ginger into whipped cream and spoon the mixture onto the cooled meringue.
6. Decorate pavlova with mango, blueberries and raspberries. You can use many types of fruit. Kiwi fruit, passionfruit and strawberries are popular.