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christmas pavlova

serves 10–12

8 large egg whites
pinch of salt
500g caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon rosewater
2 pomegranates
juice of 1/2 a lemon
500ml double cream

1 baking tray and baking paper

preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Line your baking tray with the baking paper and draw a 20cm circle on the paper.

beat the egg whites and salt until satiny peaks form. Beat in the sugar, a scattered spoonful at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cornflour, vinegar and rosewater, and fold in lightly. Mound onto the baking tray within the circle, flatten the top and smooth the sides. Put in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 150ºC/gas mark 2. Cook for 1 3/4 hours. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova in it to cool completely. If you’ve got an electric oven, however, open the oven door. When cool, you can keep it in an airtight container for a week or so.

cut 1 of the pomegranates in half and juice it – is easy to do if you’ve got an electric juicer, but manageable without. Decant the juice into a small saucepan along with the lemon juice. Bring to the boil and let bubble for a few minutes or until syrupy, then take off the heat and let cool.

whip the double cream until thick but not stiff; an airy floppiness is what you’re after. Invert the pavlova meringue onto a big flat-bottomed plate, peel off the baking parchment and on top of the marshmallowy whiteness pile on the cream with not too much regard for neatness or regularity. Now halve the second pomegranate and hold one half, cut side down, over the cream-peaked meringue and start bashing it with a wooden spoon, being careful not to hit the hand that’s holding the pomegranate in so doing. After a while, pomegranate seeds will start slowly falling out, then faster, until the cream is beaded with pink. You might not need all of the other half, but be generous with it all the same, letting seeds fall on the rim of the plate as they will. Finally, drizzle over the puce syrup that’s been waiting for this moment, and take to the table.

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posted by ramtops on 12 Dec 06 - 9411 views

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How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking