"No one can arrive from being talented alone - work transforms talent into genius"
I first became mesmerized with pavlova when I saw Ina Garten throw a not so staged surprise birthday party years ago when I would turn on the Food Network after elementary school. I was excited by the idea - this glamorously colorful pile of cream that she hyped up so excitedly in her ever ever fashionable denim shirt. Except the first time I tried her recipe it sucked. My meringue was an unsavorily soupy mess after the time suggested in the oven, and by the time I left it overnight, hoping to salvage it, it had turned into a chewy, dental nightmare, with sweet sugar lodging itself in every possible nook and cranny of my molars. But yet, I still ate the entire thing. There's something mystical about a proper pavlova - deceptively light and airy, and almost all too easy to inhale without consideration of its intricate textures, let alone the ramifications to your belt line.
But alas, just like the person who serves as the namesake for this dish, pavlova can be a finicky dessert to master, requiring some trial and error. Luckily, if after even 8 years you still can't produce a perfect pavlova just like me, rest assured knowing that you have an excuse to bury it all in clouds of cream, passionfruit curd, and all manner of other goods.
Now, you don't necessarily need to go through all the effort of plating a pavlova like you see here - it's just as beautiful (and ahem, inhalable) when everything is casually layered on top of each other, inviting a stupidly oversized spoon to ravage its contents.
PASSIONFRUIT & LYCHEE PAVLOVA; pear + GInger SOrbet
mis en place: passionfruit curd
1/2 cup of passionfruit puree
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks, reserved from the meringue
7 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into a small dice
In a saucepan, whisk together all of the ingredients except the butter until you get a homogeneous slurry. Place the pan over medium heat, and switching to a rubber spatula, stir constantly until the curd thickens. Usually this will happen at around 176 degrees fahrenheit, but use your gut: the curd will start to leave trails as you scrape the bottom of the pan, and will coat the spatula more viscously.
Take the pan off the heat, and switching to a whisk, incorporate the butter a couple cubes at a time, making sure to wait until each addition is completely melted before adding more. Transfer to a bowl and leave it in the fridge to set up.
mis en place: pear + ginger sorbet
adapted from Serious Eat
3 ripe pears (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 pint raspberries
1/4 cup chopped ginger
1 1/2 cups riesling or hard cider
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender, and let the mixture chill in the refrigerator until very cold.
Churn sorbet in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.
mis en place: meringue
from No Recipes
105 grams egg whites
120 grams granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
Preheat oven to 260 degrees fahrenheit.
In a stand mixer, begin whipping the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Slowly sprinkle the sugar mixture into the whipping egg whites. Turn the speed to high, and whip until the whites hold stiff peaks. (Think marshmallow fluff).
Spoon the meringue into six mounds on a parchment lined baking sheet, and shape them so they have a little divot in the middle. Bake for one hour, turn the oven off, and let them cool with the door cracked.
one can of lychees, drained and sliced
sweetened whipped cream
To plate, top each meringue with a healthy dollop of whipped cream, followed by the passionfruit curd. Top with lychees, raspberries, and pomegranate seeds.