Hey y’all! What an exciting weekend it’s been. Since the Supreme Court ruled to make same-sex marriage legal across the country, New York City has opened up. It’s been a huge celebration, and I have to admit it’s made me so happy to be a New Yorker and an American.
So this week was huge! And I wanted to try something new and celebratory for such an amazing weekend. Here is a summer treat that’s bound to impress, the pavlova. First of all, let’s discuss what a pavlova is! Essentially it’s a big meringue. It’s got a harder crust and a whipped cream middle. The dessert was originally named after a famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. Interestingly, the dessert has it’s origins in New Zealand. It’s a little up in the air between Russian, New Zealand/Australia. But most of my research credits New Zealand. So we’ll stick with that.
So here’s the truth about pavlovas. I have to say, I had never tried one. I had to make this multiple times. I didn’t know exactly what to expect from it. So here’s some tips: you want the meringue consistency thick. THICK!!! Like Alan Thicke growing pains – oh my god Mike Seaver (dreamboat) got into some thick trouble.
Once you’ve created the meringue, you’re going to draw a circle on parchment paper. When you pour the meringue on this circle the mixture shouldn’t spread out continuously. You want it to just sit like a nice blob. Think icing! Think thick! Think Alan Thicke!
Other than that, the rest of the recipe is smooth sailing, really. You pop that in the oven and make your topping. So the topping is pretty huge. After all, a meringue is pretty much just whipped sugar. There’s not a lot of flavor in the meringue itself. So you want to put kicks of flavor into the fruit topping that will go on your pavlova. And really, as we all know, the best way to achieve that is to soak your fruit in alcohol. Yes y’all that’s what you want! And that’s what everyone wants. Trust!
STRAWBERRY AND RHUBARB PAVLOVA
6 large egg whites
2 c sugar
1 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cornstarch – for your second round of folding
3 tbsp amaretto
3 tbsp honey
6 oz rhubarb, thinly sliced at a diagonal
8 oz fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1.5 c heavy cream
1 tsp coconut extract
finely chopped toasted pistachios and confectioners’ sugar for garnish
1. How to make meringue: Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat oven to 300°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper; draw 8-inch circle on parchment, turn the parchment over.
2. In bowl of stand mixer, with whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually. Beat sugar at a medium-high speed for about 10 minutes. You want the meringue consistency to be thick. You should be able to scoop some of the meringue up with the whisk attachment and it should stay completely in place.
3. Beat in vinegar, vanilla, and salt. Gently sift cornstarch over meringue, and gently fold the cornstarch into the meringue.
4. With a large spoon or spatula, dollop meringue into center of circle on prepared baking sheet. Spread meringue decoratively, keeping it within circle (meringue will expand slightly as it bakes). Don’t try to make it perfect. The perfection comes from the imperfection.
5. Place meringue in the oven. Immediately, reduce oven temperature to 225°F and bake 1 hour to 1.5 hours. The outside of the meringue should be crisp. You want the inside to be softer. More like a marshmallow. The meringue will get a bit puffy. You should turn the oven off, prop the door open, and let the meringue cool in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the meringue and cool completely.
6. In the meantime, to prepare the topping. In a medium saucepan on medium-high, whisk amaretto and honey until you’ve got a slight simmer on the mixture. Add rhubarb. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove pan from the heat. Cover the pan and let sit for about 5 minutes until the rhubarb softens slightly. Don’t let it get mushy though!
7. Transfer rhubarb mixture to medium bowl. Add strawberries; toss to coast. Set the mixture aside for 30 minutes. Toss occasionally.
8. Beat heavy cream and coconut extract together until you get a medium thick icing. You want it to to spread but not be too liquidy. Not Alan Thicke, more like a glaze.
9. Set meringue on platter; spoon coconut icing mixture on top of the pavlova, the rhubarb and strawberry mixture. Sprinkle pavlova with pistachios and confectioners’ sugar over the pavlova.
And just like that you’ve got yourself a pavlova. Invite me to whatever party you server it at. Please oh please!