Pavlova dances with deliciousness
Fluffy finale to a fine meal inspired by ballerina
For those of you who have not met, let me introduce Pavlova — a chewy meringue dessert topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
Dedicated to Anna Pavlova, a world-famous ballerina in the early 20th century, the whimsical appearance of this dish is said to be an homage to her tutu.
Like her shapely skirt, this dish is light and airy, which makes it an ideal last course as the weather warms. And its rich, plump topping is enough to satisfy any audience member.
But unlike ballet, its lavish appearance is not such hard work.
Most of the effort relies on whipping egg whites and, eventually, the cream topping.
But we have electric beaters to do just that, making this colourful confection more approachable than ever.
But there are a few things to keep in mind when dancing toward a Pavlovian-worthy performance.
When beating your egg whites, you need an ultraclean bowl and utensils with no fat on or around them (this includes any egg yolk). With any interference, the egg whites won’t be able to aerate, leaving you with no volume or meringue-like consistency.
Also, to keep your egg whites ethereal, they need a stabilizer. Adding a small amount of acid, like vinegar, won’t affect the flavour of your Pavlova but will strengthen your frothy whites and prevent them from collapsing.
Unlike a regular meringue, a Pavlova meringue has a crisp exterior and a softer, marshmallow interior.
This parti cular Pavlova has an added nip of Greek yogurt to complement the sharp contrast of grapefruit. Both elements prevent the dish from being overly sweet.
Depending on how you feel or who you’re entertaining, you can add spices, extracts or any seasonal fruit you like. You can even drizzle on melted chocolate.
To your guests, it will be the grand finale to a perfectly choreographed program.
4 egg whites 3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) white wine vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C). Line baking tray with parchment paper.
In stand mixer (or large bowl with electric hand mixer), beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Begin to add sugar, two tablespoons (30 mL) at a time, beating for 30 seconds between additions.
Stop beating when all sugar is added and mixture is smooth and glossy.
Drizzle vanilla and vinegar over mixture and gently fold in with silicone spatula.
Scoop big spoonfuls of meringue onto baking tray to make one big mound.
Push down and smooth out with back of spoon until it is a large, 7-inch (18 cm) circle.
Make sure the middle is slightly indented, leaving a 1-inch (2.5 cm) border.
Bake in middle of the oven for 90 minutes. Remove and let cool. Meanwhile, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
Add yogurt and honey, beat until combined and use to top cooled meringue.
Add grapefruit segments, chopped pistachios and a generous drizzle of honey.
Serve within an hour of assembling.
Make ahead: Meringue portion can be made a day ahead of time. Let cool on baking sheet, before wrapping baking sheet with meringue on it in plastic wrap. Keep in cool, dry place.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Pavlova with pink grapefruit, which has an added nip of Greek yogurt to complement the sharp contrast of grapefruit and prevents it from being overly sweet. Topping: 1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream 1/2 cup (125 mL) full fat, plain Greek yogurt 2 tbsp...
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