Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Toasty Strawberry Pavlova

I bought a pack of California strawberries a few weeks ago and I thought I would eat them all in a matter of two days, but I didn't.

Eventually, I told myself that if I didn't do something with those strawberries now, they would go bad and I would be lame for letting strawberries go bad.

I also remembered I had a small carton of heavy cream that I bought earlier in the month still hanging out in the refrigerator.

And, I had about 2 dozen frozen egg whites in the freezer.

Excellent.

June 1, 2008
Name of dessert: Giant Strawberry Pavlova
Occasion: I have leftovers
Constituents: two huge layers of meringue, layered with whipped cream and sliced strawberries

(giant) strawberry pavlova

Now, I really only needed three or four egg whites to whip up into a couple of meringue discs, but why use four egg whites when I can use seven?

I made two giant meringue layers, and about a dozen meringue cookies. I was going to follow Jamie Oliver's suggestion of baking the meringues for 2 hours at 200 degrees, them letting them dry out in the warm oven. But when I checked in on them after an hour, smoke billowed out, and the meringues were that lovely brown color! I panicked and pulled them all out, and let them cool at room temperature. Did I burn them? Was there something shriveled and black at the bottom of my oven? What happened?

There wasn't anything shriveled and black in my oven, but the foil lining the bottom looked pretty well used. That's the only thing I came up with. Which isn't much.

Anyway, the short bake and room temperature cool left the meringues soft and sticky on the inside. They didn't taste burnt, just a little toasty. I thought that might be a nice contrast to the whipped cream and berries.

And, it was.

strawberry pavlova

However, by the next day the whipped cream had begun to weep, leaving a pool of funky liquid around the edges of the pavlova. It didn't affect the taste, but it sure was unappetizing to see. Next time I make a pavlova, especially a giant one that won't be completely devoured the same day, I will want to stabilize the whipped cream. Let my mistake be a lesson to all of you.

10 comments:

  1. oooooh, I like Pavlova. Lovely with strawberries.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMG give me a spoon! Pavlova is my favorite dessert!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I figured I'd sample many Pavlovas in Australia, which is, after all, the home of the Pavlova, but it was on the menu only once, and it wasn't very good. Yours looks much better!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Melinda, Pavlova with strawberries is pretty darn good. I wished for more strawberries, actually!

    Jen, had I known you were a Pavlova fan, I would have sent you some!

    BBC, aww thanks! What are those Australians eating, if not Pavlova?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've been on a meringue disc rampage the last couple months, as I try to perfect my imitation of Papa Haydn's Boccane Dolce. My best effort so far, for 3 discs (15 oz egg whites), is 200 degrees for 4.5 hours. I want to get them dry all the way through, without browning. But I"m having a problem with some sugar weeping out of the meringue. Not sure why that is. Anyway, strawberries + meringue + whipped cream = YUM!

    ReplyDelete
  6. aldaigle, thanks for stopping by! this is the first time i have browned meringue, and i blame it on all the mysterious smoke billowing out of my oven.
    my thoughts on your weeping meringue (even though you didn't ask for them):
    maybe if you made italian meringue the sugar wouldn't weep? i think that italian meringue is more stable...i could be totally talking out my ass here. also, rose has a recipe where you replace some of the white sugar with powdered sugar--the cornstarch would probably help keep the meringue dry. and lastly, i am assuming you are here in portland or nearby, and it tends to be quite humid here, and as sugar is hydrophilic, it will continue to absorb water from the atmosphere. so the maybe the solution is to eat your meringue quicker!
    all just guesses, of course. i'm sure you've figured it out all on you own by now!

    ReplyDelete
  7. ELC, I always welcome suggestions! I had come to the same conclusion about the humidity probably being the culprit. I made the last batch at Bandon, which is even more humid than here in portland. Although it actually comes out of the oven with melted sugar on the silpat...it doesn't develop it after sitting around. Anyway, the texture is otherwise fine, so it's mostly an aesthetic issue. That's a good suggestion about the italian meringue, though...I'll have to try that next time. The recipe I've been using is actually rose's with half powdered sugar. I made so many trial meringues that I had a bunch left over. So for over a week I've been combining the leftovers with whipped cream, melted chocolate, strawberries, and raspberry puree for a boccone dolce casserole! I do this every day...I wonder why I'm gaining weight? :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. phew--i'm glad i didn't come off sounding like a know it all!

    sounds like your casserole is a fairly healthy thing to be eating on a daily basis! fiber, protein, antioxidants...you could call it health food!

    did you try the italian meringue yet? just curious.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ha...I like your nutritional assessment! You are definitely a woman after my own heart. I haven't tried the italian meringue yet, because I thought I'd give the pavlova-style meringue a try. I'd never heard of pavlova before, but your blog and the joyofbaking.com description of a "soft sweet marshmallow center" intrigued me. So I made it yesterday, and indeed, it is quite tasty! I'm definitely a fan of the soft center. I will try the italian meringue soon and will let you know the results! btw, I just got an iSi easy whipped cream whipper to enable my meringue/cream/fruit addiction. Extremely cool for small(ish) doses of whipped cream!

    ReplyDelete
  10. glad you like the marshmallowy pavlova-style meringue. and aren't baking toys fun? my most recent addition is the little butane torch and i love it. i keep looking for things to torch just for the fun of it.

    ReplyDelete