Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book Club Pavlova

There are those amongst us who set themselves on a pedestal and let the world believe that they are incredibly special and skillful and talented - they protect their power by creating an highly decorative illusion.
Each January as the world welcomes the new year and we bravely decide what we are going to stop doing - smoking, eating, drinking and what we are going to start doing - eat salad, change jobs, study quantum physics! I set myself a number of challenges including a culinary one. I have in the past challenged myself to make fragrant Thai food, spicy Indian curries, complicated pastries and to be braver with vegetables.

A couple of years ago, the challenge was to make a Pavlova - a larger than life, flamboyant and decadent dessert that always makes an impressive entrance when served. I googled, researched and studied as I usually do when I set out to do something that requires skill and discovered that the Pavlova is an impostor. Its just a simple combination of sugar and egg white with a dash of cornflour and vinegar - its a sweet reminder that to be impressive you don't have to be complicated. Some things are not as they seem and when you scratch the surface they crumble and disintegrate till you are left with nothing ...but egg on your face!

Here's the pavlova recipe that I use to make an entrance at bookclub - it often recieves spontaneous round of applause but sadly there is never enough for an encore!

6 egg whites, 350g of Castor sugar, 2tsp of vinegar, 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence, 2tsp of cornfour.

Preheat the oven to 150C. Prepare a silicone baking mat or line a baking tray with silicone baking paper.

Separate the egg whites and beat them with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar - a little at a time - into the egg whites. Add the veinegar, vanilla and cornflour and whisk in. Spread in a circle onto the baking sheet building the sides up slightly higher and place in the centre of the oven. Reduce the heat to 140C and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Leave to cool in the oven.

Decorate with whipped cream, fruit and drizzle with melted chocolate! Enjoy the compliments!

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