Monday, November 23, 2009

A recipe for deliciousness! (and specifically pavlova)

We had a feast day in anthropology last week, and I decided to make a pavlova. A what, you say? A pavlova is a holiday or celebratory meringue cake eaten traditionally in Australia and New Zealand. It was created in honour of the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova who toured Australia and NZ in the 1920s (it's light and airy just like her I guess - plus I bet she was crunchy on the outside). Australia and NZ equally claim the creation of the pavlova. According to Wikipedia, research has proven that New Zealand has the more legitimate claim. But don't listen to me, I'm biased. So anyway, a pav as it is colloquially known, is delicious and easy to make. Here is what it could look like:

Note: this recipe isn't mine originally. But since cookbook writers don't even feel the need to always cite their sources, neither do I! (it was procured somewhere on the internet and possibly combined a few different sites' interpretations).

So you want to make a magical pav! (it's the eggs that supply the magic) Here's how. You'll need:
4 large egg whites (you could make an omelette with the yolks, or something)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 and a half teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking tray with foil and draw a circle (they said 7 inches) on it with the blunt edge of a knife (don't cut the foil!).
-Beat the egg whites on medium speed until they form soft peaks.
-Continue beating as you add the sugar, a little at a time, until it forms stiff glossy peaks.
-Fold in the cornstarch and the vinegar, and then the vanilla, with a plastic spatula.
-Spread the meringue in your circle on the foil - the edges must be a little higher than the middle so it doesn't become a pav pancake.
-Bake for an hour and fifteen minutes. It should be a pale pink color - but remember: do not open the oven door! I have made this twice and the time was perfect both times, so you shouldn't need to check it.
-Turn oven off, let the pavlova cool completely - do not open the door or it will crack/flatten. I let it cool for about 3 and a half hours and that was good.
-Shortly before serving, cover with whipped cream. I used cool whip, but if you're more discerning, you can make your own topping: whip 1 cup heavy whipping cream until you get soft peaks, then add 1 and a half tablespoons granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
-Put on fruit on top of the cream. Think tart fruits, here, to counteract the sweetness of the meringue. I prefer kiwifruit, but raspberries and blackberries work well too - go wild!
-Eat and enjoy! Easy as!

Who doesn't love kiwifruit? MMMM

PS - sorry vegans, this isn't going to be an easy one to substitute :( I'm not sure that so far we have egg substitutes that are as magical as eggs. One day, perhaps? I still love you though and have a great cake recipe for you - I'll post it sometime. Also, if anyone knows of a way to make this vegan, or tries it out - let me know how it goes!

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