Friday, 11 February 2011

Trendy Pavlova

Puddings scare me a bit, often you can't just bung things in a bowl willy nilly, instructions have to be adhered to, measurements obeyed, temperatures checked and tempers tested. Plus I am more of a starter and main kind of girl, usually preferring cheese to something sweet. However, in the last year or so, I have been a bit braver, and less lazy, (I normally run out of enthusiasm by the time I get to deciding on a pud, reaching for the desert section in the supermarket) and tackled a few recipes, with surprisingly pleasing results. I think my chest was more puffed up after this one, than the meringue. 

I had a load of egg whites left over in the fridge from the semi disaster Seville Orange tart (pastry case I had spent ages making snapped in half), and couldn't face binning them, and also couldn't face egg white omlettes, and couldn't think what else to make apart from meringue. Then I watched the lovely Baking Made Easy lady on BBC2 and was inpired to make her spiced blackberry, apple and pear pavlova. I am 28 and I had never made meringue previous to this and it was about time. Full recipe can be found here (its not my recipe, and I followed it devotedly so you might as well see the proper recipe):
Everyone says meringue is easy, but I tried to make it with a nearly-dying hand held single electric whisk that got so hot I did have concerns about it blowing up. Forget yolks, bits of kitchen machinery in my egg whites would have ruined it for sure. I think I was whisking for about 25 minutes, no joke, (I am about to buy proper electric beaters so I can reduce that time by about, oh, 20 minutes) but I was determined to make it work. Boyfriend is a bit of an expert on meringe, it's the one pudding he likes, and he made a meringue skeleton to carry round in his home made coffin for Halloween. Obviously. When the whites seemed 'nearly there' he kept offering little helpful hints, such as 'Yeah that's what they looked like when I did it, but they wouldn't go any firmer than that' and 'You may as well give up.' Well I didn't, I had to wrap the handle of the whisk in a tea towel to prevent serious burns, but I did it. Tenacity is my family motto and very fitting it is too. 

After the meringue trauma it was all very easy, once meringue was in the oven, it was all poaching fruit in wine, cinnamon, orange  peel and juice, and star anise, whisking up some whipping cream (noooooooo) with vanilla seeds, and then artfully blobbing it all on top. Not sure it was worth the risk of 3rd degree burns, but next time I'll have proper beaters. Tasted great, and more importantly it was real pretty.

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