run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Friday 13 June 2014

Patriotic Pavlova

Brr, it's cold out there. Yesterday I was yearning for a taste of those not-so-long-ago summer days. and decided that pavlova, heaving with soft berries and with that marshmallowy centre and crispy-but-melting edge, would be the perfect dessert.

I went patriotic with this one not because I was expecting Baby George and his royal mum round for tea, but just because it's a quick and cool way to decorate. I just made a thick diagonal cross of whipped cream (getting it stiff with just a fork definitely equates for at least a slice's worth of calories, on my blog anyway) followed by a thinner '+' sign of cream. Then it was strawberries on the cross, raspberries on the diagonal, and blueberries in between.

The never-fails* meringue recipe I used was by genius cook Evelyn Rose: the Master Recipe for Pavlova Layers from her New Complete Jewish Cook Book

It calls for:

2 tsp cornflour
8oz / 225g caster sugar
4 large egg whites
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extracts

And the plan of action is:

Mix the cornflour and sugar. Separate the eggs and add a pinch of salt; whisk, whisk, whisk until you've got those majestic stiff and glossy peaks, then add the flour/sugar mixture a tablespoon at a time. Finally, when it's all beaten in, add in the vanilla, followed by the vinegar. 

Had a whole lot fewer berries knocking around last time I made it..

Spoon half the mixture into a circle on one piece of baking parchment, and try to make a similar sized circle on another sheet. You could go all techy and draw out circles, but I find the dollop-and-hope method works pretty well.

Have the oven heated to 150 degrees, but just before you put hte meringues in, turn the temperature down to 140 degrees. Bake for 45m-1hr, switching the meringues' oven positions half way unless you want a tortoise-and-hare situation: one burnt at the finished line, the other raw in the middle.

* The only time I mucked this up was using baking paper not parchment. Who knew there was a difference? I didn't, until the meringues I'd lovingly made and spent ages whisking got utterly, fatally stuck to the paper. It was quickly turned into Eton mess... Parchment is now the only brown roll allowed in my kitchen!


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