Sunday, October 13, 2013

Anna Pavlova, You Are A Friend of Mine

        Along time ago, somebody in a fancy hotel in New Zealand, made her a special dessert, and named it for her! Imagine! Nobody ever did that for me, not even in a humble kitchen! But, oh! I am so glad for that chef...Can you imagine a world with out Pavlova? The iron horse cowboy can. He doesn't count Pavlova as MAN food. So I have to make it for when girls are coming for treats. Never had a pavlova? Don't you just love that name? Doesn't it sound rather beguiling?
       Yet it is so simple to make. Funny, how sometimes the most complicated seeming things are really so simple! Let me say, a pavlova is also gluten free, so no excuse for unelegant GF desserts! A Pavlova is not too sweet, it melts in your mouth, you can do it up with any number of good things, you can make it days ahead of serving it, it looks really special, it tastes marvelous...well, I could go on and on.
       Anna was a tiny litle Rusian Ballerina. Famous around the world. Danced until she was in her fifties. Died suddenly from pnemonia. But inbetween living and dying, she went to New Zealand and had her very own dessert! They served it to her with whipped cream and fresh strawberries and kiwi, which is , of course, very New Zealandish! I bet she just dived right in and gobbled it up. Ballerinas work pretty hard, don't you know, and are actually very muscular and strong. I try to imagine twirling around on my toes and it just makes me dizzy. She was most famous for her Swan roles. She had to dance around in a feathered costume! It is amazing!

       So. For Pavlova you need egg whites. So If you make things that use all kinds of egg yolks - voila - you have a good excuse to make Pavlova!

                                          3/4 cups sugar
                                         2 tsp. corn starch
                                         4 egg whites
                                          1 tsp. cider vinegar
                                         1 tsp. vanilla
                                          sprinkle of sea salt
                              Turn on your oven to 200 degrees. Mix 1 Tblsp. sugar with the corn starch
                              and set to the side. Beat your egg whites until stiff.. This is where you are so
                              thankful for your KItchen Aid! It takes awhile and if you had to do it with a
                             hand mixer or a whisk, you would never, ever make Pavlova! When the egg
                             whites are nice and stiff, add the rest of the sugar a little at a time. Continue
                            beating until they are thick and glossy. Add the corn starch and sugar mixture
                             and the sprinkle of sea salt. Gently fold in the vinegar and vanilla.
                             Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I make individual sometimes, so
                            you just drop spoonfuls on the paper and with the back of a spoon make a nest
                            in each one. This recipe will make six. Or you can make one large one, with a
                             large nest in the middle. Bake for one hour. Then turn the oven off and leave
                           them in until they have cooled completely.

                   After they have cooled, you can keep them tightly closed in a cool dry place for a week, but that would be a long time to wait for good eating! Quickly! Right away! Fill that nest with whip cream and pile on the berries! I am a total blueberry fan, but you can use what ever you like. Or, and this is the good thing about Pavlova, it is so diverse! You can fill it with pudding, or custard, or just fruit. You can use saucey berries if you don't have any fresh. You can just pick one up in your hand and munch it. Ice Cream? Yogurt? Let your imagination (and taste buds ) run wild.
                   Another thing, if you use brown sugar, the Pavlova will be a lovely  latte color. Which reminds me, you can use coffee or cappacino or chocolate powder, too, to add your favorite flavor. 

            Beautiful? Gooodness. Those are champage grapes on the side. Teensy tiny grapes that fill your mouth with sweetness and pop. Introduced to me by my old boss, Chef Barry. How about we send the iron horse cowboy off on his iron horse, and I'll dance up a Pavlova. We'll have it with strong black coffee, and silver spoons, and we will be giddy with happiness. You can tell me stories, or play me a song, or we can swirl around on tiptoes and pretend we are Annas.
           You never know what might happen in the Raggedy Garden Kitchen!