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Verses from my Kitchen: Pavlova Two Ways: Vanilla-Scented Strawberry and Raspberry Compote with Crushed Pistachios

April 30, 2011

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.

The first bite locks you in. Any residual stress from the week is gone before it leaves the spoon. There's a moment of quiet hysteria in my mind as I try and race to the finish, all the while trying to slow down the process to enjoy it. It's a game I'm not going to win.

The soft meringue is fantastic with the fruit and sauce and the added texture from the pistachios. One is sweet heaven, the other balances the line of sweet and salty perfectly, similar to a tightrope walker.

From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!


The Goods:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. 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.
  2. Use a handheld mixer and a large mixing bowl. Add the egg whites in and whip on high speed until they form stiff speaks.
  3. 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.
  4. Spoon the meringue mixture into the circles and smooth out. Make sure the sides are higher than the middle.
  5. 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.
  6. Peel back the parchment paper and serve the pavlovas with your desired filling.

Vanilla-Scented Strawberries

The Goods:
  • 500 grams strawberries, hulled and halves
  • 3 tbsp. icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  1. Add half of the strawberries to a blender with the icing sugar and vanilla. Puree until smooth. Push through a fine sieve and reserve.
  2. Add the whipped cream to the centre of the pavlova and top with the remaining strawberries. Top with the strawberry sauce and serve.

Raspberry Compote with Crushed Pistachios

The Goods:
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. pistachios, roughly chopped
  1. 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.
  2. Serve the pavlovas with the cream and raspberry compote on top. Add the crushed pistachios over that.

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At April 30, 2011 at 10:30 PM , Blogger Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

wow first class pavlova's and great way to perk yourself up

At May 1, 2011 at 7:19 AM , Blogger A Thought For Food said...

I must admit that I've never had pavlov before... but they look marvelous! I have the same experience with weekends. At least we know how to relax... with good food. :-)

At May 1, 2011 at 8:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The double punch of berries make it look like the dessert of the year. Pavlova looks fantastic and your description of your weekend morning so poetic.

At May 1, 2011 at 9:50 AM , Blogger Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen} said...

Holy yumness!

At May 1, 2011 at 10:08 AM , Anonymous spiceblogger said...

Soooo beautiful. I wish I could dig right into it!

At May 1, 2011 at 10:31 AM , Anonymous SMITH BITES said...

ahhhh . . . yes, THIS is what weekends were made for . . . perfect pavlova, perfect berries = perfect weekend!!

At May 1, 2011 at 11:19 AM , Blogger Lizzy said...

Oh, my!!! I don't think I could choose between these two spectacular pavlovas! So I'll take one of each ;)

At May 1, 2011 at 11:34 AM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thanks Rebecca! Great start to the weekend.

Thanks Brian. You would love them. Great food and weekends go hand in hand, right?

SOML, thank you! Berries are great in pavlovas but the beautiful thing is the amount of options you have for the filling!

Thank you Katrina!

SB, I'd offer you some if you were here. If that helps.

Debra, perfect food and perfect people make great weekend memories.

Thanks Lizzy. Don't forget to pay the cashier on the way out. ;)

At May 1, 2011 at 1:33 PM , Blogger Wilde in the Kitchen said...

These are beautiful! And I agree this week felt really long!

At May 1, 2011 at 5:58 PM , Blogger Maria said...

That is one (well two) gorgeous pavlova! You've combined some of my favourite flavours in these - delicious!

At May 2, 2011 at 5:47 AM , Blogger Peggy said...

I think this would definitely de-stress me instantly! Sounds absolutely delicious!

At May 2, 2011 at 7:18 AM , Blogger Carolyn said...

I love pavlova...was first introduced to it by an Aussie exchange student when I was at UBC. Both of yours sound wonderful and I am sure they were worth the wait!

At May 2, 2011 at 11:29 AM , Blogger Sippity Sup said...

Yes, payoff that is exactly what this is. GREG

At May 2, 2011 at 2:47 PM , Anonymous Kate@Diethood said...

Oh my deliciousnesssss! I can't describe to you just how much I LOVE pavlova! I want the one with the pistachios!

At May 2, 2011 at 4:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh how beautiful. Yes, weekends are rejuvenating. The pavlovas look delicious. Love those berries.

At May 2, 2011 at 9:27 PM , Blogger Inga´s Haven said...

Hi Michael this looks delicious -
i´m stopping by to tell you that I gave you the Liebster award - hope thats ok :)


At May 4, 2011 at 12:53 PM , Blogger Katie @ This Chick Cooks said...

That looks like it is truely delicious. You are totally right about the week feeling longer after a holiday. I'd love to feature your recipe in my spotlights next Wednesday, if it's ok.

At May 4, 2011 at 7:20 PM , Anonymous beth said...

lovely pictures! i bookmarked this with my cookmarked.com account too. it all looks divine.


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