Pavlova Two Ways: Vanilla-Scented Strawberry and Raspberry Compote with Crushed Pistachios
It's amazing how long a regular work weeks feels following a week cut short from a holiday. The standard five day work week, normally so ingrained in all of us that our internal clock goes off at 5pm sharp on Fridays, feels instead like an eternity. By the time I pull in my driveway Friday night, I feel like raising the flag and surrendering.
Thank goodness for weekends.
Saturday is the exact opposite of the week that just ended. I turn the page and it's a new chapter. It starts off quiet and relaxed and without the noise associated with weekdays. The birds outside sing a familiar refrain as I open my eyes, take a deep breath and erase all memories of the week that was. I sink back into my pillow, roll on my side and stare at the morning sunshine just over the trees behind our house.
When my foot hits the floor out of bed, it's like walking into a new beginning. And, in a way, that's exactly what it is. My stomach immediately flips the switch and starts thinking about food. And until I satisfy those cravings, the reminders come fast and hard as if my stomach has a snooze button.
Before even thinking about breakfast, I'm thinking about a sweet treat for the afternoon. Maybe I dreamt about pavlovas or maybe it's my sweet tooth prodding my mind while I sleep. Either way, that sweet surrender is something I need so I start prepping the meringue as the morning coffee rolls through the stages.
I shape the meringue add the finished mounds to the oven and wait. Patience is not one of my strong suits, but when the payoff is as big as this one it forces me to relax. Within an hour of waking I'm in tune with the pace of the weekend.
When the time comes for us to eat these, I call my wife with the excitement normally reserved for children on Christmas day. I spoon in all that goodness to the recessed centre and close my eyes as my mouth quickly resembles Niagara Falls.
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet. Turn a plate upside down and draw an outline around the plate with a pencil.
- Use a handheld mixer and a large mixing bowl. Add the egg whites in and whip on high speed until they form stiff speaks.
- Slowly add in the sugar a bit at a time, all the while whipping. Once the sugar is fully incorporated it should be stiff and glossy. Fold in the cornstarch and vinegar and lemon juice and whip on high for 4 more minutes.
- Spoon the meringue mixture into the circles and smooth out. Make sure the sides are higher than the middle.
- Bake for 30 minutes and drop the heat to 225 degrees and cook for a further hour, or until it looks slightly brown and stiff. Turn off the heat and let cool in the oven for a couple of hours.
- Peel back the parchment paper and serve the pavlovas with your desired filling.
- 500 grams strawberries, hulled and halves
- 3 tbsp. icing sugar
- 1 tbsp. vanilla
- Add half of the strawberries to a blender with the icing sugar and vanilla. Puree until smooth. Push through a fine sieve and reserve.
- Add the whipped cream to the centre of the pavlova and top with the remaining strawberries. Top with the strawberry sauce and serve.
- 2 cups raspberries
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. pistachios, roughly chopped
- Stir the sugar and cornstarch and half the raspberries into a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add in the lemon juice and stir occasionally while bringing to a simmer. Once in a full simmer, remove from heat and add the rest of the raspberries in.
- Serve the pavlovas with the cream and raspberry compote on top. Add the crushed pistachios over that.