Pavlova, Carmina’s Home Cooking Demonstration with Sweet Memories of Days in Australia
Pavlova? This is the one word question I surprisingly inquired my friend Carmina who is from the Philippines when she and some others among our Ladies International Group began scheduling in from among representative cultures sharing toward the new Cultural Home Cooking segment with Spiced Peach Blog.
I had certainly not expected my Filipino friend whose variety of foods I had enjoyed so much over the years wanting to feature the essential favorite national dessert of Australia, but she did.
However, the Pavlova was not a random idea, and for a few reasons, one being that Carmina and her husband, Ivan, spent many years living and working in Australia in the early days of their marriage before coming to the United States and Pavlova was their very favorite dessert.
Another, is that this lovely dessert is best prepared a day in advance, providing then upon my arrival, one already baked and ready to enjoy, allowing ample time to create yet another Pavlova together for you to learn and enable time to enjoy a luncheon together with our friend, Karen.
Then there was a highly featured guest of the day to impress, Carmina’s son, Ben, just back from studying in Australia. Besides, with most of the long winter behind us, Pavlova with its brightly combined colors and textures lends a cheery feeling toward springtime ahead. So, Pavlova it is.
Onto the history of this light, meringue based billowy dessert resembling a puffy cloud and named after Anna Pavlova, a Russian Ballet Dancer. Perhaps you could agree that if viewed in an abstract art sort of way the imagination might lend the shape something of a full shaped tutu.
The Master Chef behind this creative masterpiece is likely in question since although notably created in honor of Anna Pavlova on a ballet tour to Australia and New Zealand there is apparently a battle of origin, so after reviewing many related articles on this subject it seems that New Zealand is also winning a round. And I’ll leave it at that.
Nevertheless, Pavlova continues as a much loved dessert in both of the countries and is served mostly cream filled at dining establishments everywhere, as well as many households during holidays with assorted varieties of fresh fruits and nuts adorning the top.
One of the fun aspects about doing the Cultural Home Cooking Feature is the things you learn that you never knew about friends in all the many years you have known them.
For example, though always naturally well put together, Carmina’s organizational skills, preparation strategy and presentation for making the Pavlova was so impressive that I think the Food Network should hire her.
I am pretty sure now that Carmina was really cut out for television production or something, no kidding, including her photogenic qualities and plus, I believe you and everyone else would just love her too.
Incidentally, Carmina’s son, Ben, is quite good at the technical aspects of movie production. Sharing his progress, our luncheon ended viewing Ben’s latest interesting piece filmed at the children’s education school supported through Carmina’s family in the Philippine’s.
Speaking of learning new things about friends even after knowing each other for years, baking or cooking together is really such a good way for friends to experience new things together and share time.
Perhaps you already cook with friends or the thought has crossed your mind but it is great fun and highly recommended. Along with intermittent conversation throughout the preparation process, afterward then, you can reap some rewards of your efforts at the shared table together.
Some of the important features in the organization of Carmina’s shared Pavlova did include preparing one Pavlova the evening before which is the recommended course of action since Pavlova requires a long time in cooling down, usually, as in this case, while staying put in the oven.
After the designated ninety minute, bake time the oven turned off , the oven door is kept ajar letting the Pavlova cool down right on the oven rack resting for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. Carmina places a wooden spoon between the oven door and the inside while the Pavlova is coming completely down to temperature.
Creating this essential airy white cloud, or if viewing in abstract form as a full tutu only requires attention and care while whipping the egg whites, then adding the ingredients in the appropriate timing and order, that is it.
Notice here the operative words are attention and care and with these as your guide, well, you can see in the photo above and Carmina demonstrates the guided outcome beneath.
Over the years, I have heard many people express difficulty in beating egg whites to the desired peaks. Following a couple of fundamentals makes this more easily accomplished.
Beginning with a very clean mixing bowl free of all residues and completely dry is the first step. Next, taking great care in separating the egg whites from the yolks, even a slight amount of yolk mixed into the egg whites can compromise your desired result.
If you are unsure on cracking eggs then successfully separating the eggs individually first into a small bowl is helpful toward transferring each clear egg white into the mixing bowl.
Next, the ingredients within this recipe are all friends of sorts to assist you in creating the necessary volume, the salt, the cream of tartar, cornstarch and vinegar each performing their own task within the incorporation of the confectioners sugar. Following the fundamentals will ensure the meringue like consistency firm enough to spread onto your parchment circle.
And then, I’ve also heard many people over the years declare frustration on making their own whipped cream. This task is also best begun with a very clean and dry mixing bowl, letting the mixer do its job, and taking care not to over- beat for once the cream is whipped it is clear to see, turn off the mixer, the topping is done.
Using the powdered confectioners sugar as in this recipe also aids in the thickening of the cream with the added Kahlua and a bit of vanilla extract then enhancing the flavor combined with the sweetness.
At the end of our pleasant day baking together, warm conversation between friends, and a delicious luncheon, it was clear, Pavlova, was an excellent choice Post for this series.
With many spring holidays and festivities ahead perhaps Pavlova will be the perfect choice for you too, either baking with friends at a luncheon, or for introducing to guests at your next event, the much-loved dessert in both Australia and New Zealand, and in our parts of the world now too. Many thanks to Carmina for sharing along the spice road of food and friendship on Spiced Peach Blog.
- parchment paper
- 1 8 inch round cake pan or dish for drawing circle on parchment paper
- baking sheet
- For Shell:
- 8 egg whites (room temperature, no egg yolk)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (10 X)
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Whipped Cream:
- 2 cups whipping cream (or a little more if desired)
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon Kahlua
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 8 strawberries sliced
- 1/3 cup blueberries
- 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Place a piece of Parchment Paper onto a baking sheet, set an 8 inch cake pan or dish on top, using a pencil make a circle on the parchment paper outlining the cake pan then set aside
- Before beating the egg whites, be sure that your eggs are at room temperature and that your mixing bowl is very clean and dry
- In a mixer, add 8 egg whites and begin beating at medium speed, add in a pinch of salt while continuing to beat, after about two to three minutes, add in the cream of tartar continuing to beat at an increased medium high speed, as peaks begin to form reduce mixer speed then add in the confectioners sugar one third at a time beating well before each addition, beat in the cornstarch, and finally the vanilla, once all of the ingredients have fully incorporated, turn off the mixer, you should be able to invert the bowl with the mixture sticking to the inside bottom of the bowl
- Using a plastic spatula begin spooning the egg white mixture onto the inside of the eight inch circle on the parchment paper adding a little more on the sides and less in the center of the circle creating a little cave as the center top will later be filled with whipped cream
- Put the Pavlova shell in the oven and bake for 90 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the Pavlova inside of the oven with the oven door slightly ajar until it cools completely, at least three hours, or overnight
- Toast almonds on medium heat in a small pan, stirring constantly until they begin to scent and lightly brown, remove from heat, transfer to a dish
- Clean and slice fresh fruits, except for the kiwi, combine together into a bowl, add a little sugar or confectioners sugar and stir together
- Just before serving the Pavlova make the whipped cream
- In a mixer bowl add the heavy whipping cream beating on medium for about three minutes, then add in the powdered sugar adding the sugar in thirds and incorporating before each addition, pour in the Kahlua, and vanilla extract, beat only until fluffy peaked consistency, turn of mixer
- Separate the Pavlova from the Parchment Paper and place onto a cake plate or dish
- Spoon whipped cream into the center of the Pavlova decoratively arrange the fruits on top, scatter on the toasted slivered almonds
- Serve, slicing Pavlova and offering extra fruit on the side