Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a GUN at making pavlova. I can whip up a pav in a jiffy & one that makes a table full of guests say ooohhhhh & aahhhhh!
For those of you that are not from New Zealand or Australia, pavlova is so much more than a dessert to us. It is culture, history, our childhoods & represents the fun times that you have when you gather with your friends & family. It is made from egg whites & sugar, once it is cooked it is topped with velvety, smooth whipped cream & seasonal fruit. The perfect pavlova is crunchy on the outside with a soft, marshmallowy inside & it is as high as possible.
Pavlova is also the national dessert of New Zealand, oh I mean of Australia, no no, New Zealand! Confused… we are too. There is a HUGE rivalry between the two countries as to where the pavlova originated from. I am a kiwi living in Australia & I know the truth! We can at least agree that both countries are as equally in love with the pavlova! Here is more about the history of the pav http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlova_(food) . My Australian husband is convinced that that article is written by a New Zealander, I would have to disagree & say that Wikipedia is neutral on the subject!
It is Australia day weekend & I wanted to make a pavlova that was made from real food ingredients, that means no refined sugar. I whipped up the eggs whites in the same manner as I usually would, but used honey instead of sugar. I would usually use one cup of sugar to 4 egg whites, but it seemed sweet enough with only 1/4 cup of honey
The mixture looked good, it formed peaks, then it went in the oven for 1 hour at 100 degrees & then sat in the oven for one hour while the oven cooled. Phew, so far so good!
When I opened the oven after the waiting period, the mini pavlova’s looked successful. I gave one of the pav’s a tap….. fail! No hard shell on the outside. Just a sticky marshmallowy blob! Feeling optimistic, I thought I could turn them around & still present them nicely with a coconut cream topping. I proceeded to whip up the coconut cream. Whipping, whipping, whipping….. bugger, that was a disaster too! The coconut cream was runny & didn’t whip up in the way I had envisaged.
Today’s cooking lesson…. not everything converts over well from a traditional recipe using refined sugar or processed ingredients to a real food version. Not all is lost though (just 1/4 cup of honey & 4 eggs), I now know what doesn’t work & I can try again another day. Plus I still had a fun morning in the kitchen experimenting. Happy Australia day weekend everyone!