April 05, 2007

Individual Pavlovas



Ingredients:
4 egg whites, straight from the refrigerator
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter*
1/2 teaspoon vinegar (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 250. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Beat on high the egg whites and the cream of tartar until soft peaks form-it should look foamy and any "peaks" should still be a bit floppy-about 3 minutes. Keep the mixer on high and slowly add the sugar-I like to pour it in a slow, continuous stream- and vinegar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, about 5-8 minutes. Plop 6 inch round blobs of egg whites on the lined pan, about 1/2 inch apart** . The egg whites/sugar are really fluffy and sort of sticky, so you might want to use two spoons-one to scoop and one to slide the egg whites off on to the pan. Smooth the top of the blobs slightly or create a well in the middle to hold any topping. Bake 1 1/2 hours or until the outside is dry and just starting to look cream colored. Turn off the oven and allow to sit 2 hours in the cool oven. The texture should be crisp on the outside and marshmallowy on the inside. Great topped with compote or whipped cream. Store in a cool, dry, air-tight container.


*This is a great, fat free dessert for Passover-just make sure your cream of tarter has the O/U P logo.

**If you want to get fancy or want perfectly round pavlovas, you can draw circles on the underside of the parchment paper, but I like a free form look.


My thoughts:
Pavlovas are very simple, but very impressive. The only way I can describe it is that it is like a giant meringue with a chewy center. I like mine a little undersweet and they are great topped with fruit like banana, strawberries, kiwi or passionfruit but I had some leftover compote so used that. I also enjoyed snacking on the leftovers plain and ate them as if they were a giant cookie but be forewarned, they leave white crumbles all over your shirt. I don't know why pavlovas aren't more popular in the US, Australia seems to be fairly obsessed with them and has been for years. I have been seeing them pop up on menus and in books more and more lately, but I wouldn't say they are common by any means. Which is unfortunate because they are virtually fat-free and very adaptable. The only reason I can think that home cooks might avoid them is that egg whites have a reputation for being difficult to work with. However, if you have a stand mixer (or a good hand mixer and some stamina) it couldn't be easier. You just add the eggs to the bowl and mix away. Just remember that a soft peak and a stuff peak look exactly as they sound: soft peaks look fluffy and soft and stiff peaks hold their shape. Other tricks: work on a clear, dry day (dampness kills volume) and beat the whites in a very clean, greaseless metal bowl. I also like to beat cold egg whites, other disagree but I think I get better, glossier results. And if you make a mistake, eggs are so cheap, you can just start over without feeling like you have the salvage the problem.

10 comments:

  1. that looks great. though as a new zealander, i must say, that isn't really what we would call a pavlova. pavlova is a national dish, named after the exquisite ballerina. it's origin is hotly contested between us and australia, and is one of the tiresome arguments that neither can win. it is at least as big as an large cake and is notoriously difficult to achieve. also, if your teeth don't feel like they are about to fall out, it just isn't sweet enough!

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  2. I made pavlovas once, and I was surprised by how easy and tasty they were. I topped mine with a tropical fruit salad, but even on their own, they were great. I'll have to make them again - thanks for reminding me!

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  3. Lovely! Coconut & Lime is just sublime, as is your Pavola. I've always been a fan, myself. There was only ONE Pavlova, but the dessert has infinite varities and always "wows" guests!

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  4. I love a good meringue dessert. As delicious as this looks right now, I'm sinning by looking at it :)
    Today being Good Friday, all animal-derived products are forbidden for consumption, eggs included.

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  5. I've never made poavlovas, but I have seen them all over. Maybe I need to jump on the boat with everyone else! Yours look great

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  6. Thanks Claire: I meant to mention that. Pavlovas can be made large or small, I chose to make indivual ones because there is no way we can eat a large one in one sitting and leftover dry out. The smaller ones have a longer shelf life.

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  7. Ohhh... just tried these and they're in the oven. Made them for my dogwalking pals... Put the tiniest bit of red food colouring in them,so they're shell pink.

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  8. Hi, Rachel. Sorry I haven't been by in a while. All of your recent treats look beautiful! I'm so glad it's strawberry season cuz there are so many wonderful recipes to use them in. I esp. love your compote and pancakes!

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  9. Heee! Australia??? Pavlova is all about New Zealand! : )

    A great dessert though because either way you make it someone will love it; crunchy, chewy, marsh-mellowy...

    I'll give the little ones a try, because once you put the cream on the big ones have to be eaten all at once.

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  10. Hi Rachel! I love it - they always look like a beautiful blank canvas in which you can add a multitude of beautiful fruit colours to...

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