Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pot Luck Pav

It is hard to know how to start my first blog, I envisioned writing something fabulous about some exotic recipe I discovered while on a far off tropical Island. But because I couldn't sit around waiting for an unlikely holiday, I decided to start with this tasty recipe I made for a Pot Luck dinner we went to on Saturday night. These delicious mini-pavlovas also seem fitting as I am, after all, a New Zealander, so everything has fallen into place nicely. I would like to point out that I am a pretty bad photographer, and I pledge that I will improve as time goes by. I am an ex girl guide, so you can have faith in my pledge being honoured, once a girl guide, always a girl guide.

When it comes to Pot Luck, I have no trouble deciding what to cook, my partner loves dessert and all pudding related foods, so I head straight for my favourite pile of weathered cook books and start turning pages. Pudding is not my most favourite course, if I was faced with a wee creme brulee or Vegemite on toast, I would most likely head for the toast (as long as it was generously buttered before plastered with the sticky black goodness). But a dessert that mashes together berries and chocolate is something I would give up an entree for. For the benefit of my hips I like to follow a 2 out of 3 course policy, which is typically a entree/main combo.

I like the danger element of meringue, the will it, won't it thrill when you first plunge the beater into the bowl of egg whites. As a young cook, I recall the terrible disappointment when the egg whites just wouldn't come to life. The desperate desire to try again, and the refusal of my mother to waste 6 more eggs.

I don't have a copper bowl, which I think would a be good addition to my kitchen wardrobe, but I seem to get on fine with my plastic Tupperware bowl. I clean and dry everything very carefully and find my little handheld beater works just fine. I don't have the fanciest of cookware, I would rather work with what I have instead of filling up my cupboards (considering I only have 2.5 cupboards to work with).

I used a recipe from one of my favourite New Zealand authors, Annabel Langbein. Her cook book Eat Fresh offers wonderfully simple and delicious seasonal food.

The recipe goes a little something like this (the recipe has been tweaked a little from the original as it is sadly not the right season for Raspberries, and they are expensive frozen).

To make 8

  • 6 egg whites at room temperature (and at least a week old)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 130g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 6-8 tbsp raspberries, fresh or frozen (I ended up using frozen boysenberries)

For serving

  • 300ml cream, 1 tbsp icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, extra berries

Make sure all equipment being used is clean, and there is not a scrap of fat in sight. Preheat the oven to 160C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place eggs in your bowl (make sure it is quite a large bowl as the egg will multiply in size considerably). Add salt and beat until the eggs are forming soft peaks. Very slowly sprinkle in the sugar with the beater running. Keep beating until the mixture is thick and glossy, this should take about 10 minutes. Whisk in the cornflour and vinegar. Fold in the melted chocolate very gently, so the mixture is marbled beautifully.

Using three quarters of the mixture, dollop 8 spoonfuls onto the tray. Using the back of a spoon make a dip in the centre of each dollop. Place a tbsn of berries into each dip, and use the remaining mixture to cover over the berries.

Bake 3 minutes and then reduce the oven to 120C and bake for 1 hour or until the pavlova shells are crisp. Turn off and leave in the oven to cool. Store in an airtight container until eaten. Whip the cream with icing sugar and vanilla and add a dollop on top of each pav and sprinkle with berries.

Unfortunately I don't have a photo of the finished dish all dressed up, they got gobbled up too quickly! I did find that the boysenberries were a bit heavy for the mixture and sunk to the bottom (which is why Raspberries are probably better suited), I quite liked the effect as it created a delicious gooey mess that was a pleasure to discover once the crispy shell was cracked. We enjoyed a banquet of curry, smoked Kahawai, sausage risotto, and spinach salad....fabulous, I love a good Pot Luck dinner.

I hope this recipe serves you well. I am eager for feedback so I can make improvements to my blogging skills, so please be honest.

I have lots of ideas for my blog, so make sure you visit again!

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