Pavlova dances with de­li­cious­ness

Fluffy fi­nale to a fine meal in­spired by bal­le­rina

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - JOANNA TYMKIW

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.

Meringue:

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

For the Cal­gary Herald

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...

Sting­ing Net­tle Gomae is an Asian-style dish fea­tured in The Deer­holme For­ag­ing Book.

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