heron61: (Default)
[personal profile] heron61
I've previously seen in several works of fiction by New Zealand authors mention of that nation's national dessert, the pavlova. Being curious, and also having found a brand of dairy-free (coconut-based) whipped topping that's actually pretty good, I made the attempt. I used this recipe, originally from America's Test Kitchen's so far excellent gluten free cookbook. For fruit, I used delicious local raspberries.

I was tempted by this recipe by Alton Brown. If/when I try this again, I'll likely attempt that one (but again with local berries, rather than the far less interesting to me passionfruit).

After the allotted time, I took the meringues out of the over, but they were gooey in the center, so I baked them 30 minutes more, and the result was crisp throughout and no longer gooey in any fashion. What I'm entirely uncertain about is whether or not this is desirable. Recipe descriptions use words like tender, which to me does not equal crisp and mildly crunchy, but they weren't over-baked or tough, so I'm rather uncertain.

Beyond that, they were delicious, but the experience was much like eating a cake with fruit, where someone removed all the flour and some of the fat, meaning that the ratio of sugar to everything that wasn't sugar was pretty darn intense. In part, this is clearly because the whipped topping I used was roughly twice as sweet as any whipped cream I'd make if I wasn't allergic to dairy, but it also seemed somewhat intrinsic to the dessert. Am I correct in this assumption? Attempting food I've never actually tried is always odd, since I lack anything to model my results on.

Date: 2016-09-14 05:38 pm (UTC)
arethinn: glowing green spiral (Default)
From: [personal profile] arethinn
Maybe they mean the state of meringue which is still a bit chewy in the middle? Not "gooey" but not crisped throughout either? I suppose you could do a test which starts with what you did at first, to the gooey stage, and then take one out at 5 minute intervals or something...

There used to be a bakery around here which did killer peppermint-with-chocolate-bits meringue that had just this texture, but sadly they are long gone so I can't feed you an example :P

I think a pavlova does need to have whipped something, but yeah, sugar balance can be a problem in desserts. Sounds like it needs a bitter component, like bitter chocolate or something - a 99% bar should likely be dairy free?

Date: 2016-09-14 08:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] benlehman.livejournal.com
I believe Pavlova are supposed to be a bit soft in the middle. And, yeah, they are MADE OF SUGAR.

Date: 2016-09-14 10:39 am (UTC)
china_shop: Goodnight Kiwi in bed with cat (Goodnight Kiwi)
From: [personal profile] china_shop
Pavlova are soft/moist on the inside, and the thickness of the hard outer shell varies wildly. Also, the "shell" often cracks. This is to be expected.

I eat mine with unsweetened cream (sometimes lightly vanillaed) and strawberries. :-)

Date: 2016-09-14 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fub.livejournal.com
Indeed. The Alton Brown recipe has cornstarch, which makes the inside slightly chewy. So the outside is supposed to be slightly crunchy, and when the sugar melts away, you'd have the inside to chew on.

Date: 2016-09-14 09:30 pm (UTC)
china_shop: New Zealand painting of flax (NZ flax)
From: [personal profile] china_shop
Don't all pav recipes have a small amount of cornstarch? That's standard afaik.

My experience is that the inside is melty, rather than chewy. It's like a mouthful of sweet nothings. :-)

Date: 2016-09-17 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mlerules.livejournal.com
Sounds glorious, regardless of how "right" 'tis!

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