Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Dessert For A Sunday Dinner...

We planted blueberries last fall. They're tiny - just over a foot tall - and will take a few years to reach their glory. However, they're blooming right now, and the promise of a handful of fruit this year is so exciting! The bushes are supposed to reach 5'. You must plant more than one for pollination to occur. They should be within 6 feet of each other.
I have been seeing them again at Marina Garden Center. We amended the soil with an organic acidic planting mix, and have been fertilizing with Dr. Earth Organic 4 Plant Food. GOOD LUCK!


A few weeks ago, we decided to revive the Sunday Dinner with our friends Robert and Roberto. We are doing pot luck, rotating houses, and are supposed to try recipes we've never made before. It has been so much fun, and a lovely end to the week! I decided to try my hand at desserts, which are challenging for me because I have difficulty following directions (I'm a more "pinch of this" and "glug of olive oil" kind of cook). Last Sunday, I made the dessert below, using store bought blueberries. It was a wild success. Hopefully, your berry plants will yield enough to make many of these!

The recipe is featured in the current (April 2009) issue of Gourmet Magazine. It is outstanding, simple, rustic, and elegant, with a very intriguing history. It's also so much fun to make.


yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
active time: 35 min
total time: 2 hr

The ruffly white meringue called a Pavlova is all about sublime textures. Here, the crunchy yet marshmallowy meringue meets silky lemon curd, juicy ripe berries, and billows of whipped cream. Virtually the national dish of Australia, the dessert is claimed by New Zealand as well; it was named for the Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured both countries in 1926. The inspiration for this recipe came from food stylist (and New Zealander) Toni Brogan.

For meringue:

* 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 3 large egg whites at room temperature 30 minutes
* 3 tablespoons cold water
* 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

For filling:

* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 stick unsalted butter
* 3 large egg yolks
* 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 4 cups mixed berries


Make meringue:
Preheat oven to 300°F with rack in middle. Trace an approximately 7-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Turn parchment over and put on a baking sheet.

Whisk together superfine sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.

Beat whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Add water (whites will loosen) and beat until whites again hold soft peaks.

Increase speed to medium-high and beat in sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more.

Add vinegar and beat at high speed until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes (longer if using hand-held mixer).

Gently spread meringue inside circle on parchment, making edge of meringue slightly higher than center (the "crater" is for curd and fruit). Bake until meringue is pale golden and has a crust, about 45 minutes (inside will still be marshmallow-like).

Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool meringue in oven 1 hour.

Make Lemon curd while meringue bakes:
Stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2-qt heavy saucepan, then add lemon juice and butter. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking, then continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Lightly beat yolks in a small bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup lemon mixture, then whisk into remaining lemon mixture in saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until curd is thickened, about 2 minutes (do not let boil). Transfer to a bowl and stir in zest. Chill, surface covered with parchment, until cool, about 1 1/2 hours.

Assemble Pavlova:
Beat heavy cream until it just holds stiff peaks, then fold 1/4 cup beaten cream into curd to lighten. Spoon lemon curd into meringue and mound berries on top. Serve remaining whipped cream on the side.

Cooks' notes: •For best results, keep oven door closed as much as possible during baking.
•Meringue can be made 2 days ahead and frozen, wrapped well in plastic. Thaw before serving.
•Curd can be made 2 days ahead and chilled.



Adriana said...

Darn you for introducing me to Marina Garden Center!

fred davis said...

You're welcome dammit!

ckeller said...

I would like to eat that!! YUM

Anonymous said...

Why oh why was I not visiting you when you made this. It looks luscious all the way from here in Texas. SQ
p.s. I am going out to buy a tinfoil hat right now.

yvette roman davis said...

Tell you what, my dear SQ, anyone who comes all the way here to visit me from Texas gets a Pavlova.


yvette roman davis said...

AND a home-made tinfoil hat.