Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thanksgiving Pavlova

Well, I just finished my 5th Canadian Thanksgiving and it was great!

Here's what we ate:
  • A huge turkey (21 lbs!)
  • 2 types of stuffing (recipes to come!)
  • Roast Potatoes
  • Roast Pumpkin
  • Smashed Brussels Sprouts
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • and...Pavlova!
As you can see, it was a cross-cultural kind of meal and didn't contain Pumpkin Pie as I loathe it (sweetened vegetables just don't do it for me). We also do roasted veggies as opposed to mashed potatoes etc. But the main event for my husband and our guest was the Pavlova for dessert. It's an Aussie thing.

For the uninitiated, Pavlova is like a huge, meringue which is crispy on the outside but billowy and soft and marshmallow-y on the inside. It's then topped with whipped cream and fruit. It's generally a huge hit. We all had seconds.

What you'll need:
  • 8 egg whites
  • 375g superfine (caster) sugar
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp corn starch (cornflour)
  • 500ml whipping cream
  • fruit - strawberries, kiwis, and passionfruit are traditional, but anything is good. Berries are great!
Preheat your oven to 350F and then line a cookie sheet or pizza pan (not the holey type!) with parchment paper. Don't grease it.

Now put your egg whites in a bowl and use some sort of whipping device to beat it until stiff peaks form. I use my Viking mixer. Then add the sugar in a 3 batches, beating in between. It will become very stiff, glossy and lovely. At this point, beat in the vinegar and vanilla. Now sift in the corn starch and fold it in with a silicone spatula.

Take your meringue and mound it on the paper, going for a fair bit of height as is will sink in the oven a bit. try and smooth the top and sides a bit, though freeform is what it's all about.

Bake in the oven for 10 mins and then turn the oven down to 240F and bake for another hour. Leave the oven ajar while it cools. Carefully peel the paper off the bottom and put it on a serving plate. You can leave it in this naked state for a day or two in an airtight container. Shards will break off the sides, but don't worry about it.

When you're ready to serve it, whip your cream until it's whipped but not too stiff and spread it over the top. Don't be tempted to sweeten the cream - the Pav is sweet already. Now tumble your fruit over the top and drizzle some passionfruit seeds over the top. Cut it up like a cake and devour.

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