Though I am fiercly proud of my Korean heritage, I have always maintained that my home is Australia, and that I cannot envisage living anywhere else in the world. Tucked away in our own little corner of the world, this country is about as extreme as you could get – wet leafy rainforests, tall alpine ranges, beautiful golden beaches and blistering red deserts, if you’re looking for contrasts then Australia has it in spades.
One thing that any tourist who has been to Australia will tell you is that we’re a friendly bunch. Despite Sydneys reputation for being ever so slightly snobby, or Melbournians being misconceived as a surly bunch who wear nothing but black and drink coffee, we love to get together with neighbours, friends and family and kick back, possibly with a beer in hand and the barbie (Aussie slang for a barbeque) fired up with a couple of snags, chops, kebabs and steaks chucked on to feed the troops once all the socializing has fuelled their appetites.
Despite our immense love of food, there are few dishes I know of that are regarded as being absolutely Australian as the humble pavlova. Though there is ongoing debate as to whether it was actually created in Australia or New Zealand, it is a dessert that very few Australians would fail to recognize once in front of them and in summertime it will make repeated appearances on many kitchen tables across the country. Named after Russian prima ballerina, Anna Matveyevna Pavlova (1881-1931), this meringue-based cake was given her name because of Anna’s own lightfootedness when dancing onstage.
The typical pavlova consists of a large meringue that is the base to this dish, lathered in freshly whipped cream which is then topped with a variety of fruits, usually sliced strawberries and kiwis, though you should feel free to use any variety of warmer climate fruits – I’ve seen pavs with mangoes, pink guava and passionfruit as well as berries, cherries and grapes. I’d steer clear of using hard fruits like apple though as the firmness of the flesh tends to detract from the experience of this soft, cloud-like dessert.
Though my pav has a brown crust, pavlova purists declare that a true pav should be white, making sure to remove it from the oven before it started to brown.
The recipe I used for this post is a slight step away from the traditional, by the famed Aussie chef Bill Granger from his cookbook ‘Every Day‘. The resulting dessert is light and airy, and the yoghurt cream is delightfully fluffy with just a slight tang as to help balance the sweetness of the meringue and berries. If you’re going to a barbeque and looking for a dessert to bring, I urge you to give this a try as I guarantee that it will be a hit with young and old 🙂 Ah heck, even if you have no barbeque to go to, give it a try – I dare you to make it last longer than a day in your kitchen 😉
Pavlova with yoghurt cream and strawberries
(recipe from ‘Every Day‘ by Bill Granger)
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g caster sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp arrowroot
2 tsp white vinegar
250mL thickened cream, whipped
125mL natural yoghurt, lightly whipped with a fork
250g strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
1 tbsp pure icing sugar
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Draw a circle approx. 20cm in diameter on the baking paper and set it aside for now.
2. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla extract into a clean, dry bowl till stiff peaks form. Add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition, then continue to beat till the meringue is thick, glossy and fairly firm. Beat in the cornflour, arrowroot and vinegar.
3. Pile the meringue onto the baking paper inside the drawn circle, slightly smooth into shape then put it in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 120 degrees C. Bake the pave for 1 hr and 20 mins, or till the outside is firm but not browned.
4. Once cooked, turn off the oven, prop open the door with a wooden spoon and leave till the pav has completely cooled.
5. Gently fold together the whipped cream and yoghurt, then spoon on top of the cooled pav. Toss the strawberries in the icing sugar and gently arrange on top and serve 🙂
This post was put together as this week’s entry to Bee’s ‘Postcards‘ series at Jugalbandi. Head on over to see what other virtual postcards they’ve received for this ongoing event!
[tags]pavlova, antipodean, desserts, sweets, cakes, Australian cuisine, recipes[/tags]