Saturday, April 07, 2012
The clan is gathering. The kitchen is beginning to buzz. The lamb is marinating. The bread is ordered and needs to be picked up this afternoon, which I'll do on my way to the Amtrak Station in Wilmington to fetch the daughter who is coming in from NYC. Another daughter and her husband arrive either later tonight or very early tomorrow morning. The sermon for tonight's Vigil is done. The sermon for Easter Day needs a few tweaks.
There's lots to be done before The Great Vigil of Easter.
I'm excited about tomorrow's dessert.
It's a simple thing, really. Light. Sweet. A perfect ending to a festive meal.
It's called 'Pavlova'. According to more than one source, it's the 'national dessert' of both Australia and New Zealand. No matter: it's dramatic, relatively easy, and delicious. It will be piled high with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries with a few slices of kiwi, a few sprigs of fresh mint and garnished with shavings of white chocolate.
I've made it once before, on the advice of my friend Jim O'Donnell who was one of the best cooks I know. Jim died a few months ago. This is my 'resurrection' gift in his honor - a way of celebrating his life and his many gifts and talents. It's a way to keep his spirit alive.
So, it has been given a new name. I'm now calling it 'Resurrection Pavlova'.
I'm sharing the recipe here, as I am occasionally wont to do. It would please me greatly if you gave it a try and, when you do, do it in remembrance of him - a testimony to the community we are called together to be, in Christ's name, and the power of His resurrection.
A most blessed Triduum to you all and a joyous Easter!
• 8 egg whites, at room temperature
• Pinch of salt
• 1 ½ cups superfine sugar
• 4 Tbsp cornstarch
• 2 tsp white vinegar
• 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350°. Draw an 8” circle on a sheet of parchment paper and line a baking sheet with it.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until peaks form, about 3 minutes.
On medium speed, whisk in the sugar a little at a time. Turn the mixer to high to fully incorporate.
Add the cornstarch, and whisk until blended. Add the vinegar, then the vanilla. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat at high speed for several minutes until the mixture is very stiff.
Pile* the meringue onto the parchment, using a spatula to spread it around the circle, and piling the sides slightly higher than the middle. Place in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 300°.
Bake the meringue for 1 ½ hours, then turn the oven off and prop open the door. Let the meringue cool completely. It can be stored uncovered for several hours.
*If the meringue can’t hold its shape, scrape it back into the bowl and beat for another couple of minutes. It should stand still when you pile it on the paper.
FOR A SMALLER MERINGUE (serving 6-8): halve all the ingredients, and the baking time. Leave the temperature at 350°, rather than turning it down. Follow all other instructions.
(From the Los Angeles Times, May 23, 2007)
FOR THE PAVLOVA
• 2-3 c heavy cream
• fresh berries and/or other fruit, cut up – as much as you like.
When ready to serve, whip cream until stiff, adding a little Grand Marnier if desired. Fill the shell with the cream, then top with fruit.
FOR A SMALLER PAVLOVA, use 1-2 c heavy cream.