Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tasty Tourism Series: Australian Pavlova


I don't know about anyone else, but I love to travel. I want to go all over the world and experience as many different cultures as I can before I die. I'm sure you can think of a few places you'd like to visit too, but most of us just don't have that kind of money. For this reason, we have to find smaller ways to 'broaden our horizons'. Since food is one of the best ways to experience different cultures without leaving home, I'm going to start showcasing a traditional recipe from each inhabited continent. I suppose If you really want to make something from Antarctica, there's a 'snow cream' recipe on this blog. This first edition of 'Tasty Tourism' features a recipe I borrowed from my Australian friend-pavlova.

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert that originates from Australia and New Zealand. While this particular recipe uses strawberries, you could use pretty much any kind of fresh fruit you like. One common variation uses kiwifruit-a 'fuzzy' brown fruit with a very tart green center. The picture above also uses a sweet chestnut cream.

You will need:
A sheet pan
Parchment Paper
1 cup white sugar
3 egg whites
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup confectioners' sugar
1 pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 300º F. Next, line a sheet pan with parchment paper and draw a 9-inch circle on it. This is the size and shape the finished product should be.

Take a large bowl and beat the egg whites using high speed until a few soft peaks form. While you are whipping the eggs, add ¾ cups of the white sugar gradually. The sugar should be completely dissolved. Then, add in the remaining ¼ cup of white sugar and the cornstarch. When this is done, use the lemon juice to lightly fold the mixture into a meringue.

Now, spread a ¼-inch thick layer of the meringue on the parchment paper in the shape of the circle. The rest of the mixture will then be spooned into swirls to form a shallow bowl shape. Once you get the meringue completed, bake it at 300ºF for an hour. Then, turn off the oven and leave the meringue in to cool for another 30 minutes or so. While you are waiting for the meringue to cool, mix the cream and confectioners' sugar in a separate bowl and whip until it is of the desired thickness.

When the meringue is cool, it should be hard on the outside and somewhat moist on the inside. You can now spoon the cream into the 'bowl' and add whichever fresh fruit you'd like. Strawberries and kiwifruit work very well, but you could also add other types of berries and shaved coconut. Nuts and chocolate shavings can also add a nice touch!

Now you know how to make a traditional Australian/New Zealand dessert. Stay tuned for more 'continental' recipes!

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