Why hello there! It's been a couple of weeks. I have a few Paris posts for you, but I have to get some pictures together, some thoughts, and all the rest. I have a few posts to share before that anyway, though. Things I ran out of time for before I left.
Such as this Chocolate Strawberry Pavlova from Nigella. R used to live in New Zealand, and since then has been pretty anti-pavlova for reasons I don't quite understand (something about them being too sweet, waa waa waa). Good thing I make a point of never listening to him when it comes to food. We both loved this, as did our friends who were over for dinner (at least, they said they did, and they'll stick with that if they want a repeat invitation!).
This is not hard. There are things you have to do to make sure your egg whites beat up, but it's really not rocket science. You do have to do it in steps, though, because the meringue base must cool in a cracked oven, so factor in some time for that. Here are a few tips:
* Bring your eggs to room temperature first. Either take them out of the fridge the day before, or set them in warm water for a few moments before you're ready to use them.
* Make sure all of your equipment is clean and totally free of any grease that could stand in the way of fluffy egg whites.
* This is easy, so don't worry about it. Egg whites smell fear.
Since I'm still a little jet lagged, we're going to call this introduction good and get on with it.
Chocolate Strawberry Pavlova
Very slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer
For the meringue:
6 egg whites (see notes above)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Preheate the oven to 350 F. Using a 9" cake pan, trace a 9" circle onto a sheet of parchment paper, to use as a guide when you pile up your meringue for baking. Place the parchment paper, pencil side down (you should be able to see through it) on a baking sheet and set aside.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then beat in the sugar spoonful by spoonful. The meringue should become stiff and shimmery. Sprinkle the cocoa powder, vinegar and chopped chocolate over the top, then fold into the egg whites. Mound the meringue on your baking sheet, using your traced circle as a guide.
Place in the oven, and immediately turn the heat down to 300 F. Bake for 1 to 1:15 hours. The meringue should look crisp around the edges, but remain a little squishy in the center. Turn the oven off, and leave the door slightly ajar until the meringue has cooled completely.
For the topping
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 pint strawberries (or raspberries or any berries!), sliced and hulled
2-3 tablespoons grated (with a vegetable peeler) bittersweet chocolate
Just before serving, beat the cream until it becomes whipped cream. Transfer the meringue disk onto a serving dish, mound the whipped cream on top and arrange the berries on top of that. Sprinkle with the chocolate shavings and serve.