Well here I go, my first blog hop! I am glad to be a part of this and I sure am looking forward to hopping around and checking out all the amazing pav's that my fellow bloggers have created.
I decided to meld another classic dessert (Peach Melba) with my pavlova for a couple of reasons; the first being that I just simply had to get cracking into the peaches that I had sitting in the fruit bowl, there is only so long these furry little guys can be used as an asthetically pleasing kitchen display. The second reason is that I thought it would be fun to top a classic Australian* dessert with a spin on another dessert that is not classically Australian, but rather named after a classical Australian soprano, Dame Nellie Melba. According to Wikipedia, Peach Melba was created at the Savoy Hotel by French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier when Nellie performed Wagner's opera Lohengrin at Covent Garden in London.
Traditionaly, once the peaches are poached, they are served with rasberry coulis, I'm sorry Auguste, I am just not really a raspberry coulis kind of a gal, I decided to go with fresh raspberries. And I am glad that I did, instead I decided to top the whole sunset coloured creation with a reduction from the liquid that my peaches poached so happily in.
Are there any lessons learnt from my pavlova creating experience? Why, as always, yes!
- Listen when Stephanie Alexander tells you to leave the pavlova in the oven after baking it - leave it until the whole thing has cooled down and, for heavens sake, don't peek at it, not even once, even though you thought it would be OK to continue to peek at it after doing it the first time. It just gets worse, pavlovas are way too sensitive to be ogled until they are ready to be dressed.
- Don't whip the cream too much so that you have butter, but maybe whip it enough so that if you take it outside to photograph on a sunny day, the whole thing doesn't begin to descend down the plate in a tragic, fruity landslide**.
- When you poach the peaches in their boiling hot wine and vanilla liquid, maybe don't go prodding them with your finger to see if they are done, poke them with a knife. It's OK, the peaches like it, your fingers on the other hand, will not.
* I am aware that there is a grey area as to where the Pavlova originated from, but if New Zealand hadn't beaten us so horrifically in the rugby world cup semi's, I may have felt differently about sharing this dessert with them. Yes, this is a gastronomical protest, one month later.
** This was evident if you were able to see the pav from the other side in the lead photo. I didn't want to frighten you.
Pav-Melba, or Pavlova with Orange Blossom Cream, topped with Poached Peaches, fresh Raspberries and Syrup
Recipe from Stephanie Alexander's, The Cooks Companion
4 Egg Whites at room temp
Pinch of salt
250g castor sugar
2 tsps corn starch
1 tsp white wine vinegar
A few drops of good vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper and draw an approximate 20cm circle onto it, this is where the pav will bake.
- Beat the egg whites and salt until you have stiff peaks
- Beat in the sugar, a little at a time until it is fully incorporated and you don't have any graininess to the mixture. The mix should look stiff and glossy now.
- Sprinkle the vanilla, corn starch and vinegar over the mix, fold to combine.
- Dollop the mix onto the tray and smooth over the sides and top with a spatula.
- After you put it in the oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 150C for 1/2 an hour. If the pav has browned a little, cover it with some foil, loosely.
- Reduce the temp again to 120C for another 45 minutes.
- Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova in the oven until the oven has cooled entirely.
- Transfer to a plate or cake stand to dress with the cream and topping.
Orange Blossom Cream
250ml whipping cream
1 tbs orange blossom water
1 tbs icing sugar
- Combine all ingredients and whip until firm but not too stiff. Smooth out over the top of the pavlova and put in the fridge to chill
Poached Peaches with fresh raspberries and syrup topping (variation of Peach Melba)
6 ripe peaches
1 1/2 cups of dry white wine
1 1/2 cups of water
1 fresh vanilla bean
1/2 cup of sugar
- Half the peaches, remove the stones and set aside, leave the skin on.
- Add the water, sugar and wine to a heavy based pan
- Split the vanilla bean, remove the seeds with the blunt edge of a knife and add both to the pan.
- Add the peach halves, facing down into the liquid and bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes before carefully turning the peaches over for a further 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove the peaches and chill in the fridge until cool enough to pull off the skins which should be easy after poaching.
- Turn the heat to high and boil the syrup until you have reduced it by 2/3
- Take off the heat and put in fridge to cool down.
- Slice the peaches into wedges, arrange on cream on top of the pav. Arrange fresh raspberries amongst the peach slices.
- Drizzle with the syrup.
- Enjoy with a glass of your finest bubbles.