Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Mini Fruity Pavlovas

Hi All

Last year November my brother was married to a beautiful woman by the name of Evette. Not only is she very pretty but she's a total riot too! (Its just egg on bread, Goosie, just egg on bread! :P).   I have really been blessed with my new sister and have even had the honour of making mini pavlovas with her. Nothing is more crazy fun than baking with your sister, especially if your sister is as special as mine :)

Just for some general knowledge (heaven knows we can never have enough of that), Pavlova is a meringue based dessert typically garnished with strawberries, passion fruit, kiwi fruit and cream. It originated in New Zealand and Australia and it was named after the famous russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova, in honour of one of her tours to Aussie  and New Zealand in the 1920's. Guess she really must've made quite a sweet impression on the Head Chef!! :P

Evie and I skipped a few steps when we made our mini pavlovas in the sense that.......... we cheated somewhat............. and bought store meringue shells, but ssshhhhhhh!!! You didn't hear that from me.*
We also decided to fill these little meringues with our own fruit and cream fillings which consisted of sliced fresh strawberries, whole blueberries, vanilla custard and whipped cream.
Now just so that I redeem myself a bit in the eyes of my fabulous public, here is an easy meringue recipe (although I promise not to tell if you store-buy your meringue shells too *wink)

Meringue shells
Ingredients (be warned, this is a loooong list)
8 egg whites @ room temp please
Pinch of salt
440g of castor sugar
(Hahaahaha got you worried, lol).

For the love of heaven, please ensure all your utensils are oil, dust, and water free, you see, meringue mix is certainly very fussy when it comes to these three things; and if possible use a metal mixing bowl too. Oh and just a hint, you might want to use an electric beater for this one, otherwise your arms are either going to be jelly, dead  or you are going to develop some serious biceps. If a friend of yours owns a Hobart mixer, BORROW IT!

Heat your oven to 120C and line 2 flat baking trays with baking paper. In your metal mixing bowl, pour the egg whites and the pinch of salt, begin mixing on high. Add the castor sugar spoon by spoon until all the sugar is used and the mixture is the consistency of glassy peaks; to test if the mixture is correct, rub some between your fingertips, if it still feels grainy you better restart your play list and shake your booty and mix some more. When you've hit the jackpot, plop some in a piping bag and swirl rings with a hollow centre (remember to do a base) and leave space between each meringue as these puppies expand! Once you've placed the meringues in the oven, turn the temp right down to 100C and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Baking time may vary from oven to oven and from size of your meringues so keep an eagle eye on them. You'll know they're ready when you gently tap them and the base sounds hollow. Then turn off your oven and allow the meringues to take five -in the oven- till its completely cooled down.
*cool tip: meringues can be stored in an air tight container for up to 3 to 4 weeks, or so I've heard because there's never any left for me to test that theory*

Now you are ready to fill your meringues with the fruit of your choice; that's if you don't feel like going original and add custard or cream and chocolate flakes for a little twist of decadence. Be creative, be funky - these are your pavlovas peeps, so don't be shy and give your own ideas a try!.

Well I've never met Anna Pavlova but I thank her generously for impressing the Head Chef enough to fashion this dessert, I LOVE IT!!

Happy baking peeps!

Chef Shants xxxxx

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