Well folks. This is it. The last of the 3 part review for DK PUBLISHING’S new release DESSERTS. I’m so impressed by the contents of this book and the beautiful work that Caroline Bretherton and Kristan Raines have created. I have scanned through the entire book and will most likely be making the majority of recipes over time, with the exception of the macarons. You see. I have this real fear that I’m about to share with you today.
MERINGUES MAKE ME NERVOUS.
There are so many things that could go WRONG with a meringue.
Temperature, egg yolks getting involved with the egg whites, the whites themselves, the process, the beating, the whipping and believe or not, the weather – just about anything and everything could make or break the perfect meringue. I’m sweating just thinking about meringues.
So, as I flipped through the book and came upon this recipe for mini pavlovas, I went to the next page. Then I flipped back and decided, oh what the heck. Let’s try to make meringues. The last time I attempted to make meringue cookies I used a carton of egg whites instead of using “a real egg”. EPIC FAIL….no….wait…BIG. HUGE. GINORMOUS AND EXCEPTIONALLY EPIC EGG WHITE FAIL. I waited like an hour before the egg whites started to stiffen in my mixmaster. I have no idea why this happened. Aren’t whites whites? My end result was a crazy looking cookie that had NO PEAK. They looked like flat round white stones instead of magnificent tall whippy white swirls (like they demonstrated in the recipe photo). They were an embarrassment to the history of meringues and I vowed never to go there again.
These turned out MUCH BETTER.
The trick was to use REAL LIVE EGG WHITES and have a little patience.
Okay, well maybe not. I never have patience or time because to be quite frank, I’m ALWAYS in a hurry to go onto the next project.
The recipe called for ROOM TEMPERATURE eggs. And of course, my eggs were straight out the fridge and I wanted them to be room temperature in less than 4 minutes. How do I do this? Let me tell you.
I turned on the oven and preheated it to 200F. Then I turned OFF the oven. Stuck the eggs in and waited 3 minutes. I’m serious here. This is exactly what I did and you wanna know something? I had room temperature eggs in the allotted time frame. Then, I told my work colleague what I did the next day and you know what she told me? I could have done the same thing by dunking them into a bowl of warm water for 5 or 10 minutes. Brilliant right? Sometimes…….I’m going to admit…….I’m such an idiot.
The next part of the recipe called for superfine sugar.
I didn’t have any.
Superfine sugar hack of the day……..I threw it into my coffee bean grinder. Also brilliant.
The sugar, along with cream of tarter, a pinch of salt and vanilla went in next.
I stopped holding my breath because this is what I ended up with:
Maybe, but highly unlikely.
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tarter
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced thinly
- whipping cream for garnish
- ¼ cup crushed pistachio nuts for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 275F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
- Beat the egg whites and salt in a large mixing bowl (stand mixer) until foamy
- Add the cream of tarter and beat to form soft peaks, then gradually add the superfine sugar and beat to form stiff peaks.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine.
- Use a palette knife to spread the mixture on the baking sheet in 4 separate mounds about 4 or 5 inches wide and 2 inches thick.
- Create neat swirls as you spread the mixture and make a small indent in the centre of each mound.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 250F and bake the pavlovas for about 80 to 90 minutes, until they are crisp.
- Turn off the heat and let cool completely inside the oven before removing. That stage took about 2 hours. You need patience for this......I have none.
- Once they are cool, top with fresh whipped cream and arrange kiwi slices on top. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios if desired.