Wednesday, May 29, 2013

PAVLOVA WITH CHANTILLY CREAM AND BUTTER TOASTED ALMONDS









I will go on record and say that this is a great recipe for pavlova. The best.  It has a meringue with a delicate, crunchy crust and a soft marshmallow-like center.  The cream topping is a flavorful Chantilly cream that goes great with the fruit, especially the strawberries.  The almonds?  Well, they are buttered and then toasted.  That gives them an incredible flavor.  The dessert melted in our mouths. Literally.  It was sweet, creamy, fruity, smooth, soft, heavenly. A great dessert for the Memorial day weekend!  We were in love. The recipe is based on instructions from the "The Joy of Baking," but I changed it around quite a bit.  I added lemon juice, it worked wonderfully!  I made Chantilly cream!  I had to have almonds! Plus I used a little extra cornstarch. I cooked my pavlova at a low temperature for a long time.  This and beating the egg whites extraordinarily well insured success.  I am in love with this recipe and this dessert. I guess I will make it again sometime next year and enjoy another slice.  Even though it's an angelic dessert, and one I have always wanted to make, ouch, those calories... 


Ingredients:
4 large egg whites at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cornstarch
sliced fresh fruit of your choice for topping
some butter cut up in small pieces
whole blanched almonds for topping, notes on preparation bellow
Chantilly cream for topping, recipe below

Directions:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using a pencil, draw an 8 inch diameter circle on the paper.  Turn the paper over so that the pencil marking rests on the baking sheet side.  The circle will still be visible.
Add the granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor.  Beat it until the granules become superfine and somewhat powder-like. This is superfine or caster sugar.  If you can buy it ready made, go ahead and get it, but this is an easy, convenient way to make your own. Caster sugar is best for meringues because its fine granules dissolve quickly.
Preheat the oven to 225° F.
Make sure that the bowl of your mixer is really clean and dry. Place the egg whites into it.  They should be free of any presence of yolk.
Begin beating on medium.  When the egg whites start to get frothy and form soft peaks, turn the speed up to high and add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. After all the sugar has been added continue to beat until the egg whites are very stiff and shiny.  If you think the meringue is done, beat it some more. (I took a short nap while the egg whites were being beaten)! The meringue should be smooth, and the sugar should be fully dissolved, so that if you feel the meringue it should not be at all gritty, but should be smooth and stiff, somewhat gluey, and it should look shiny.

At this point add the vanilla and beat to mix.  Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the lemon juice and fold well.  Sift the cornstarch over the meringue and fold that in as well. 

Place the meringue on the prepared tray with the parchment paper and smooth it into a round shape using the penciled circle as a guide.  

An offset spatula is best to use in order to shape the meringue.  

Leave a small indentation in the middle so that the cream can rest into it in comfort.

Place the meringue in the oven and bake it for one and a half to two hours, until the top of the meringue feels dry and somewhat hard.  Turn off the oven and let the pavlova shell stay in there until both it has cooled. Take out the shell. It will probably have one or two cracks, that's fine.  The outside will feel firm, but looking through the cracks you will be able to see the marshmallow-like interior. 
The shell can be stored on its parchment in a cool dry place until ready to use.  You can make the shell one day ahead of time.

To decorate:
Gently remove the parchment paper while sliding the shell onto a serving platter.  Place the Chantilly cream on top and gently spread it all over.  Top with the almonds and fruit, creating a decorative pattern.

TO PREPARE THE ALMONDS:

Spread whole blanched almonds on a baking sheet and top them with pieces of butter.  Stir them around with your hands so that the butter covers most of the surface of the almonds. Toast them in the oven until they begin to get golden.  Keep a close watch because once they start to get golden they are on their way to getting burned, so it's important that they are removed from the oven before that happens.  The butter gives them a wonderful and totally different flavor than plain toasted almonds.  It also makes them appear shiny.

CHANTILLY CREAM:

Ingredients:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, really cold
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

The best whipped cream is made with cold ingredients.
Refrigerate the bowl and the whisk attachment of your mixer until they are very cold.  Bring them out and place them back in the mixer.
Add the cream, vanilla and Grand Marnier into the bowl.
Beat on medium until frothy.
Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and beat on medium high until soft peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes.  
Do not overbeat.  You will know when it is done.  It will be nice and thick like whipped cream.  If you continue beating, the mixture will start to get grainy, and you will start to develop butter.  Or so I have been told.  Anyway, this is absolutely delicious.  It will remain thick.  Chantilly cream doesn't tend to get watery like regular whipped cream because it contains sugar.

2 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness I need a slice of your pavlova. It looks so good, and the middle came out beautiful. I bet it was delicious.

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  2. This looks so good, I could sit down and have half for me and share the other half with my friends Linus and Callee and I bet you, just bet you they would look at me in awe.

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