Monday, November 15, 2010

Strawberry Pavlova

By: Matthew Bennink Of The Makati Shangri-La Hotel

Strawberry Pavlova
In the late 1920s, Anna Pavlova, a world-renowned ballerina, began touring Australia and New Zealand.  Her grace and movements inspired a chef to create a dreamy dessert as light and airy as her dancing. Since then, it has become a widely popular Australian dish.

Matthew Bennink, executive sous chef of The Makati Shangri-la Hotel, who hails from the land down under, shares the recipe with us.

MakesPrep Time 15 minutes  Baking Time 75 minutes

1/2 cup egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon strawberry purée

For the topping
fresh cream, whipped with vanilla

Preheat oven to 130ºC. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding sugar one tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. (Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth. If it feels gritty, that means the sugar has not fully dissolved. Keep beating until smooth). Sprinkle vinegar and cornstarch over the meringue, then fold in the strawberry purée. (Learn more about whipping cream here)

2  Gently pipe the meringue on a piece of parchment paper with a very large plain piping tube, making sure to create a slight well in the center to hold the whipped cream and fresh fruits.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a pale pink color. Turn off the oven and leave the door slightly ajar, letting the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The meringue’s exterior should feel firm to the touch if gently pressed. As it cools, the meringue will crack a little, revealing a soft and marshmallow-like inside.)

Just before serving, gently place the meringue on a plate. Whip the cream with vanilla until soft peaks form. Then mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue. Arrange the strawberries carefully on top.

Fruity tip You can substitute the strawberries with other berries such as blueberries and raspberries.

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