Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chantilly Meringues aka Individual Berry Pavlovas

Pavlova sits in the Australian culinary pantheon alongside vegemite and a barbecue, as a food that we really feel is our own (please ignore any Kiwis that try and argue the toss on this one). It seems as if everyone has a mother or a grandmother or an aunt who makes the best pavlova ever. There are dry pavlova shells for sale in the supermarket, alongside towering pre-made pavlovas (both horrible). There are battles within families between the purists who would never put anything other than either strawberries or passionfruit on top, and the radicals who would happily empty the fruit bowl and top the pavlova. Since I have been blogging, I have somehow overlooked posting my favourite pavlova recipe (in cae you were wondering, it is Stephanie Alexanders - completely failsafe as long as you follow it closely).
Imagine my surprise as I started to make the Meringues Chantilly for this month Barefoot Blogging challenge, when I realised that this is really a tricked up pavlova recipe. The meringue is a little less marshmallow-y than a normal pavlova and the cream is a little more exotic than usual and the fruit is slightly stewed, but basically, it is a pavlova. Maybe a pavlova wearing a cocktail dress, heels and perfume. It is very delicious, and the perfect dessert for a dinner party, as the meringues can be made a day ahead, and the cream and fruit also prepared and plonked in the fridge until serving time. I halved the recipe as there were only five of us for dinner and leftovers like this are way too dangerous. The problem with halving was that I wound up a little short on the meringue when it came time to pipe the sides of the nests; not a problem really because the cream was stiff enough not to require the support. The fruit was sensational - it would be just as good drizzled over ice cream. And a big thank you from me to the mysterious BMK of Reservations Not Required, for picking a recipe that used summer berries at the height of their season here.
Meringues Chantilly
from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten
6 extra - large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped Cream with Orange Liqueur, recipe follows
Stewed berries, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 100C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw 6 x 10cm circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper face-down on the baking sheets.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a large pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy. Add 1 cup of the sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue. With a large star - shaped pastry tip, pipe a disc of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.

Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight. Spread some of the sauce from the stewed berries on each plate. Place a meringue on top and fill with whipped cream. Top with berries and serve.

Whipped Cream with Orange Liqueur:
2 cups pouring cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar, vanilla and orange liqueur and continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Don't overbeat, or you'll end up with butter!

Stewed berries:
1 half-pint fresh blueberries
3 half-pints fresh raspberries, divided
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons framboise (raspberry brandy - I used normal brandy as I couldn't find Framboise)
Combine the blueberries, one-half pint of raspberries, 1/3 cup water, the sugar and zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. The juice will become a syrup and the berries will be slightly cooked. Off the heat, stir in the remaining raspberries and the framboise. Set aside.


Anonymous said...

Yum! I really wish I had done the fruit. I really wish I was in Australia too.

That looks so good! Will you write about your pavlova soon so we can give it a try?


Leslie said...

Wow, does that look delicious! I thought about halving the recipe, but decided against it. I had extra meringue; maybe because mine were smaller than Ina suggested. This was so yummy!

Me! said...

Cocktail dress, heels and perfume! I love it! You crack me up

Spike said...

love pavlova. the berries look great, can't wait until they are in season near me!

Anonymous said...

I think I would like the marshmallowy Pavlova better. We LOVED the stewed berries - the best part!

Debinhawaii said...

Yours turned out so well--must be all the pavlova experience you have! Someday I will try a pavlova too. ;-)

BMK said...

Glad you liked it! Great story! I hope I'm not too mysterious!

Summer said...

beautiful! they look delicious. I haven't gotten around to making mine yet.

I second what Cat said, post that Pavlova recipe!

Penny said...

Your picture looks great! Enjoy your blog.

The Browns said...

I love your description about the recipe. Good pictures. I enjoyed it too.

Patty said...

Yum...what a perfect desert for now with all the berries out...feel a dinner party coming on. xxx