Monday, June 28, 2010

Lemon Pavlova (Kinda)

During this month's Daring Baker's Challenge there was some debate over what makes a "traditional" pavlova or not. Both Australia and New Zealand assert that the pavlova originated in that country. Some Daring Baker's from Australia said that the chocolate pavlova we were instructed to make was not a true pavlova.

Enter in our savior! One of the most incredible and remarkable Daring Kitcheneers is Audax Artifex. Audax is pretty much the first person to post a completed challenge and he is always so inspired. I feel I will learn a lot from him in the coming months with The Daring Kitchen. During the debate of whether the chocolate pavlova was really a pavlova, Audax took it upon himself to educate us non-Australian folks and post a recipe for a true "down under" pavlova. I took this recipe and being inspired by a dessert I tried at a restaurant recently, I changed it up a bit to make a lemon pavlova. That means it's not a true Australian pavlova but it sure was tasty!!

Luckily, I took pictures of the whole process and I am going to share it with you! So here we go...

Ingredients: Caster (or superfine baking) sugar, white vinegar, cream of tartar, corn starch, heavy cream, eggs, lemon, and fruit for topping (I used a frozen bag of berry medley).

Place a springform pan on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the parchment paper with 1 TBSP of the cornstarch.

Dump the egg whites in a mixing bowl (preferably a deep, narrow mixing bowl).

Add the cream of tarter...

And beat on high speed until soft peaks form.

Add the sugar in, one tablespoon at a time.

 Mix the last tablespoon of sugar with the remaining cornstarch...

And add it at the end. Woah!!! Maybe you might want to turn off the beater before snapping a picture. Or else you might get dizzy like this picture is making me!

Zest one regular size lemon.

And juice two lemons, or until you have about a 1/4 cup of lemon juice.

Add the zest to the meringue mixture...

And beat until it is well combined.

Now, to the mixture, we are going to gently fold in the vinegar...

And lemon juice...

Until it's all nicely mixed together.

Dump the mixture into the springform pan...

And smooth it out into the pan.

Now gently and carefully remove the pan from the uncooked meringue. Gently toss it in the oven.

And bake. Then you can go ahead and deflate a little when after 1 3/4 hours you go check it and find that it spread and flattened during cooking. Then you can curse the fact that you added so much extra juice and blame the wetness of the meringue that made it flatten. But then you can remember the little taste you got of the meringue when you got some on your finger and without thinking licked it off...that will make the flattening much easier to swallow.

While the pavlova is cooling you can whip heavy cream on high until soft peaks form and you have a...wait for it...a whipped cream! LOL! I added about 3 tablespoons of sugar to the cream to give it a little sweetness.

Once the pavlova is cooled, top it with the whipped cream and the fruit of your choice.

Cut it into slices...and enjoy!!!

This is pretty much the best dessert I've ever had. The tart lemon, the lightness of the pavlova, the fruit. It's amazing! This is definitely going to be a regular summer dessert in my home. Now, please head over to Audax's page and give a look to the amazing pavlova's he was able to create during this challenge. Thanks for the amazing recipe Audax and I hope I didn't do it an injustice by changing it up a bit!

Classic Australian Pavlova
Retrieved from Audax Artifex

Cooking time about 1¾ hours

Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 4 teaspoons cornflour (sometimes called cornstarch in the U.S.)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar (or ½ teaspoon of salt)
  • 1 1/3 cups caster (superfine) sugar or normal granulated sugar (if using U.S. cups add extra one tablespoon of sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I omitted the vanilla and instead used the zest of one lemon and quarter cup of lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 200ml (about ¾ cup) pure cream
  • 250g (1 cup) fresh fruit and berries
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (395°F). Dust lightly with 1 teaspoon cornflour a sheet of baking paper place on a baking tray. Place a 8” (20cm) x 2.5" (60mm) springform cake tin without a bottom as a container to hold the whipped egg whites on the floured baking paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer on the highest setting, beat egg whites and cream of tartar (or salt) in a narrow deep bowl until soft peaks form (using a narrow deep bowl ensures the beaters are well into the whites and will build up the greatest volume). Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly until thick and glossy. Add remaining 3 teaspoons of cornflour with the last tablespoon of sugar. Dissolving the caster sugar should take about 10-12 mins if using normal granulated sugar about 15 mins. (Test mixture by feeling a small amount of the meringue between two fingers if it is grainy beat longer.)  Fold through vanilla and vinegar. (After you test and make sure the meringue is not grainy, beat in the lemon zest. Instead of vanilla, fold in the lemon juice and vinegar)
  3. Spoon meringue into the springform cake tin. Shape the uncooked meringue using the springform cake tin as a guide into one giant meringue. Remove the springform cake tin and place the uncooked meringue cake into the oven. Reduce oven to 100°C (212°F). Bake for 1½ to 2 hours or until dry and crisp, test by tasting a teaspoon of the meringue from the top if it doesn't taste of egg it is done don't worry about the small hole made by this testing it will be covered by the topping. Test at 1½ hours and then every 15 mins until ready. Turn off oven and cool completely in oven (pavlova may sink and crack during cooling).
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