27 August 2007

Fruit Salad Pavlovas

The problem with doing so many custards and creams one after the other is the abundance of egg whites you will accumulate. At least you can freeze them for a long time in freezer bags. The quickest way to get rid of all of them without using a single yolk is by making a meringue: in this case, Pavlova, the Australian (or New Zealand, debatable) dessert named after a famous ballerina. I based this recipe off Chocolatier magazine, and despite cutting the sugar by half, they are (like most Pavlovas) too sweet. The fruit goes some way to cutting the sweetness with a little tartness and freshness. (Recipe follows)
Fruit Salad Pavlovas
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Beat 4 large egg whites on medium speed until it holds soft peaks, then gradually add 1/2 cup (the original recipe called for 1 cup + 2 tbsp) sugar on medium-high speed until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. On medium speed, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 3 teaspoons cornstarch and beat until combined. Place the meringue in a large pastry bag fitted with a large open star or plain tip (1/2" or more), then pipe out meringue nests onto a lined and greased baking sheet. What I do is pipe out a 4-inch circle and build around the edge multiple times. Place in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 120°C (250°F). Bake for 60 minutes then turn off the oven and leave to cool in the oven for at least 1 hour.

Whip 1/2 cup (125ml) heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Drain 1 very small can pineapple slices and cut each into quarters. Drain 1 small can peach slices. Peel and slice 1 kiwi fruit. Cut strawberries into 6 wedges each.

Once the meringues have thoroughly cooled to room temperature, pipe whipped cream on top and arrange the fruits on top. Obviously there's no hard and fast rule for what fruits are appropriate. Don't refrigerate; this has to be served shortly after assembling.

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