food

Pavlova: 70’s Classic to Orgasmic Gastronamic!

Meringue has to be one of my favourite treats! My love comes from an Aunt who always used to appear at Christmas,  armed to the teeth with home baking and her famous Christmas Pavlova, she was like a domestic goddess to me as a child, bedrooms decorated in the floweriest Laura Ashley prints which were the thing at the time,  novelty soaps, everything was home made and she always had my favourite treats in the kitchen cabinets for my visits! I remember my Ballet teacher giving out to mum the weeks after I’d stayed at my Aunt’s house because I’d come home with a right little pot belly! She made Pavlova’s as light and worthy of Anna Pavlova herself, every fruit you could imagine, crowning gallons of double cream and crumbled Flake bars! I think that’s where I developed my love of food!

Nowadays (still with a little belly, LOL!) my meringue of choice is the French Macaron! Laduree opened a concession in Dublin after years of excited trips to London to get to the Laduree café in Harrod’s and order a Macaron dessert and a Rose tea, they finally came to Ireland and I was cursed! I was like a junkie, embarrassed as I knew all the staff and the staff all knew me…I’d shamefully look up and mutter my selection of macarons and with a cup of their hot chocolate, slide out the door again and park myself on a park bench to O.D on the French treats…. A sugar junkie if you will!
I’m not sure where this recipe came from, it was always in my recipe book and taken out for family occasions where old school recipe’s were required,  as pictured, I served this one with whipped cream and fresh raspberries infused
with mint and with thanks to Saibh Egan for photographing it as she was a guestat my house on the day..  Another variety you could do is to make a coulis from Blackberries and leave overnight with a couple of bay leaves, only to remove them before serving, drizzled all over cream and some fresh berries lain on top! Go for it it’s as easy as pie.
The only warning I will give you is not to make meringue of any sort on a wet day…egg white is like a moody teenager, it just won’t work properly if the atmosphere isn’t right..

To Make The Pavlova,You will need:
8 Egg Whites
½ tsp Salt
16oz Caster Sugar
8 tsp Cornflour
4tsp White Vinegar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (I often substitute thiswith natural rose flavouring)
Preheat the oven to 135 degrees celcius.
  • In a spotlessly clean bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff and then add a teaspoon of sugar, one at a time until stiff and glossy, almost like a thick marshmallow.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Cover a baking sheet with some parchment and spoon the meringue onto the sheet to form a sort of hollowed out nest for your cream and fruit to rest.
  • Bake for 80 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely, don’t attempt to lift it until it’s cool, it will
    sink a little but that’s normal in this recipe.
  • When it’s cool, cover with whipped cream and fruit of choice.

The Blackberry Coulis I Mentioned:
400G Blackberries (Remove 150g and keep in the fridge)
50G  Caster Sugar
100mls
3 large bay leaves

(To the purists, I’m sorry if it’s not the done way but I’ve been making it like this for years) Hot sugar syrup isn’t fun when it burns so please be careful!

Clean your 250g of blackberries and pop them into a saucepan with the sugar and bay leaves and allow to boil
while stirring,  turn the heat down and keep stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved and the blackberries have turned into a syrup, remove the bay leaves with a fork and set aside, you will need them
again. Pass the warm mixture through a sieve, using a dessert spoon to smooth it through the sieve. Pop the bay leaves back in and allow to cool.

Dollop some whipped cream on yourmeringue and with a large serving spoon, drizzle the coulis over the
cream and top with your blackberries from the fridge. Serve on a cute cake stand and garnish with a couple of sprigs of mint. The Blackberry & Bay is slightly peppery which is amazing, it’s like a little party in your mouth!

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