If you read my Harvest Monday posts you will know the I have something of a glut of passionfruit at the moment. Acutally that’s exagerating a bit but I do have a good 20 fruits sitting waiting to be eaten and tonight we made a small dent in the supply. We ate them in two ways, both with meringues. Actually that’s not quite true, my daughter had the Eton Mess version whilst I had an individual pavlova. My son and partner both had chocolate cake left over from his birthday yesterday but that is their loss….. Anyway to get back to passionfruit and meringue…
Australia has a habit of claiming things; Russell Crowe, Crowded House even Phar Lap was born in New Zealand. But the really big question is: Did we invent Pavlova? Or did we knick that from the Kiwis as well?
Created in the 1920s to honour the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova the dessert was created during either her Australian or New Zealand tours. But which one? Well actually I don’t really care, beyond a slight need for historical accuracy, because even if we didn’t invent the dish Australia has certainly made it her own. In some respects I will be quite pleased if its turns out the dish isn’t actually ours because then I will feel less of a need to reproduce it accurately. And I don’t reproduce it accurately. I make it without cornflour in the meringue, yes I know, shock, horror! Am I really making pavlova at all? I suspect the CWA (Country Women’s Association) would say you no. But it is what I’ve always called it, and indeed what my mother called it before me and we surely we both can’t be wrong.
Call it what you will: pavlova, meringue with cream and fruit, a reconstructed Eton Mess or even unAustralian, this is the recipe I use.
To make Meringue:
- 2 egg whites
- 120g castor sugar
- 1 drop vanilla extract
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add the vanilla extract. Beat again. Then gradually (and I do mean gradually) add the castor sugar whilst constantly beating. Continue beating until the mixture once again forms stiff peaks.
Spoon mixture onto baking paper on baking trays. For crunchy meringues this will make about 18 smallish meringues (about a dessertspoon of mixture for each one). For individual pavlovas spoon into nest shapes, you should get about 6 nests from this mixture.
How you cook the mixture will depend on what you want to do with the finished product. If you want hard crunchy meringues – to make an Eton Mess (I will give a recipe for an Australianised passionfruit version later in the post) then cook the meringues at 150 for 45 minutes leaving the meringues to cool in the oven. If you want to make a chewy pavlova type meringue then cook for 40 mins at 140 and leave to cool in the oven but with the door open. Meringues are notoriously temperamental and you may have to make a few batches to get a feel for the exact temperature and time to get each texture in your oven. Don’t let their temperamental nature put you off though, as they will still be delicious even if the texture isn’t quite what you were aiming for.
Allow your meringue nests to cool.
- 300ml thickened cream
- 2 tblspns icing sugar
- A dash of cointreau (optional)
- 3 passionfruit – flesh scraped from skin.
Whip the cream with the icing sugar and the cointreau if using. Place the whipped cream into the meringue nest. Top with passionfruit pulp. Serve.
Now I have made this name up but I have to admit quite liking it. This could also be called deconstructed pavlova, but I have seen too many deconstructed desserts lately so I refuse to jump onto that particular bandwagon.
This dessert is essentially an Eton Mess with passionfruit replacing the strawberries and greek yoghurt replacing the cream. Feel free to mix and match if you wish and of course to add alcohol if you so desire.
To make 4 messes (ironically my 2 year old boy doesn’t like these – the dessert I mean, mess is clearly his favourite thing in the world ever…):
- 12 small meringues
- 1 cup raspberries
- pulp from 4 passionfruit
- 1 cup greek yoghurt
- 1 – 2 tblspns icing sugar (depending on taste, I use about 1.5)
- 1 drop vanilla extract
Mix together the greek yoghurt, icing sugar & vanilla.
Using 4 glasses; crumble a meringue into each glass, add some raspberries, a bit of passionfruit and a large spoon of yoghurt then continue adding layers of meringue, fruit and yoghurt until you run out or the glass is full. Eat.
To see what other people are cooking this week head on over to the Gardener of Eden for Thursday’s Kitchen Cupboard.