Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pavlova With a Dash of Ina

The only pavlova I've ever eaten is the one I've made. I can't call myself an expert on the things. I do find them sorta luscious. An outwardly crusty, chewy meringue with a soft squishy center. It's thrilling having the sticky sweet meringue cling to my molars as I try to eat it.

As you all know, berries are in season and are gorgeous right now. I'm taking full advantage of their flavor and sweetness. So I dug out my Barefoot Contessa cookbook and found her recipe for pavlova. It's the only one I've ever used and I'm thinking I'll try a different one next time.

Ina's awesome. I love her. I find her elegant, but not snooty. She's chic with a side of "just bein' real". I love how she sets her tables, her use of flowers and how she doesn't plant her garden. She's able to pay off people with her food...that's my kind of bill paying. "I need my garden planted"...Here's a roast chicken dinner. "Hmm, a vase of peonies is just what this dinner party needs"...Here's a vegetable lasagna. Ahh, Ina. I like the way you think, girl. I would love to meet her someday.

So here's the link for the recipe. It's called Mixed Berry Pavlova. It's a stunning dessert, incredibly fresh and great for summer. But I've gotta say, both times my meringue came out, what I would call, under-done. But like I said, I don't know much about pavlovas. I could really use some help on this.

Mine was:
1. crusty, chewy on the outside...yum!
2. BUT, it was sorta a frothy, runny mess on the inside...tasted good, but not what I wanted.
3. stuck really badly to my parchment.
4. other people on the recipe's link said they didn't know what everyone was complaining about with the recipe. Hmmmph.

Regardless, I'm was slightly obsessed with the beauty of the meringue. So tons of pics today:

So, I need an expert (that can be anyone who knows how to bake a pavlova) to tell me, if the consistency was right and I just have a skewed vision of what a pavlova should be or should it have been baked longer? Or maybe a higher temperature? The recipe called for 180 degrees for 1 1/2 hrs. then let it set in a shut-off oven for an additional hour. Should the egg white have been whisked longer or shorter? To me, it almost seemed like there was too much sugar in it. Like it weighed it down, but I don't know, just a hunch.

Please, foodie friends, help me out! I want to make a really good pavlova. I would love your tips or a recipe you love to use. Ina's recipes rarely disappoint, but this one kinda missed the mark for me, or the baker missed the mark in some way...can't imagine that would ever happen. (then she laughs)

I did change up some stuff. I didn't make the raspberry sauce this time. I found it too cloyingly sweet and I'm not a big fan of whipped cream (I know, you're "boo-ing" me right now...it's just too rich for me) so I 86-ed that too. All I did was marinate the fruit in 2 tbls. sugar and 2 tbls. Crown Royale. Just right. I didn't have any vanilla extract (gasp!) and so I had to scrape a vanilla bean and mix it with some rum to make my own. Isn't  it pretty?

(that's me inhaling the essence of Madagascar)

It wasn't a total flop. I mean, we ate it...all. So as Ina would say, "How bad can that be?" And I think she'd  be right.


  1. Absolutely beautiful! Never made a meringue before or used fresh vanilla, I always have vanilla extract, I must try! Great job mama!

  2. That is utterly gorgeous. I would smell the vanilla pod too :D

  3. Lauren
    your pavlova looks berry berry good!!
    I have only tried meringue once and I had the same issues you did...

  4. This looks so cool! I've never tried pavlova before, so I'll have to give this recipe a go. Oh, and I love Ina, too! :)


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