Pavlova, Joy of a Summer Meal

Copyright.Jim Long 2013

Readers have been asking for the Pavlova recipe from the previous post, so here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. We've been making pavlovas here on the farm for years and it is one of the great joys of summertime meals and fruit season.

Pavlovas are meringues in which you add fruit and top with whipped cream.

Pavlova is claimed to be the national dish of New Zealand, and folks living there claim it was invented in their country. Australians, also, claim the dessert as an invention of their country. Whoever is right, this is one sweet, delightful summer dish and quite easy to make. Basically it is a slow-baked meringue, over which you spoon fresh fruit and top it with real whipped cream.

Fresh Peach Pavlova
(You can use any kind of fruit in a pavlova, pronounced pav - lov - ah).

1/2 cup sugar, divided, approximately one half set aside
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
-Position rack in the middle of the oven. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper (I've used a cut-apart brown paper grocery bag when I am out of parchment paper and it works fine).
-Stir together half of the reserved sugar with the cornstarch and set aside.
-Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar in a bowl, using an electric mixer, until soft peaks form.
-Add vanilla and beat again, then gradually beat in remaining sugar, one table spoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.
-Gently sprinkle the remaining sugar-cornstarch mixture over the meringue and fold into the mixture with a spatula.
-Spoon meringue onto the lined cookie sheet in 6 mounts, using about 1/4 cup each, and spacing them about 2 inches apart. Use the back of a spoon and make an indention into each one, so that you have 6 little "bowls" or "nests."
-Bake meringues until crispy and barely beginning to brown on the edges, about 55 minutes. Transfer the meringues to a cooling rack with a spatula to let them cool. After about an hour, put the meringues in an air-tight container where they will remain crisp for about 24 hours. (If for some reason they get "chewy", put them in a 200 degree F. oven for about 10 minutes; but if they are stored in an air-tight container they will remain crisp).

An authentic pavlova, this one served with peaches in a ginger sauce.

For the peaches:
2 cups water
1 1/8 cup sugar (I use Truvia which is half sugar, half stevia)
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 piece of fresh ginger, about 1 1/2 inches long, peeled and sliced thin
4-5 ripe but still firm fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and cut in half

Combine water, sugar, lemon juice and ginger and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer about 15 minutes. Cool completely, then add peach halves. This can be done the day before and refrigerated over-night.
To serve, remove peaches from syrup, slice and fill the centers of the meringues.
Top with real whipped cream, not the fake stuff. This is a heavenly dessert and you will enjoy making it regardless of what kind of fruit you use.

 Happy summertime eating!

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