Friday, August 14, 2009
Our last week in England an Australian/New Zealand family (the mother from one and the father from the other) had us over to dinner. For dessert we had a Pavlova, and although I was worried at first, not being a fan of marshmallows, I loved the contrasts of textures, and I have been in love ever since. You can read about the history of Pavlova here, which like out dinner hosts comes from Australia and/or New Zealand. Pavlova is a simple dessert, with a baked meringue crust (that should still be soft and marshmallowy in the center), filled with whipped cream, and traditionally topped with strawberried and kiwis, although any fruit can be used as a topping. A seductively simple dessert, Pavlova feels like the essence of Summer cooking, with light flavors and intriguing texture. Pavlova is also a popular dessert in England. I suggest for your next dinner party, or just when you have some extra fruit and whipped cream, to try this for a change. I love Pavlova for entertaining, because the meringue needs to be made ahead, and the fruit can be prepared ahead, so all you have to do at the moment is whip the cream and assemble the dish.
Pavlova is not a picky dessert, and although it helps to use a recipe for the meringue base, anything goes for the rest. Some popular toppings are tropical fruit, berries of any kind, and I have even seen in cookbooks chocolate pavlovas topped with nuts. Personally, I think the fruit idea is more refreshing, but I wouldn't pass up a chocolate strawberry pavlova. (Avram would though. How did I end up married to a man who doesn't like Chocolate? What little old lady did I diss in the pre-existence?) A good recipe for Pavlova can be found at the Joy of Baking site.