Thursday, December 23, 2010

Raspberry pavlova redux

A picture is worth a thousand words. I have four of them. Truly flawless food.

Raspberry pavlova redux

You might remember that in my post back in October, Grand Final fever – part deux, I made a chocolate and raspberry pavlova from Nigella Lawson. Back then I gave it a rating of trusty, saying that I had to turn down the oven temperature and also use fresh raspberries. I promised to make it again in summer when the fresh raspberries were out.

Start with a flawless meringue base...
Well, it’s now summer (with a vengeance – they’re forecasting 38C, or 100F, for Christmas Day), and fresh raspberries are in stock, but at $8 for a small punnet, they’re a bit pricey. However, they’re only in season for a few weeks a year, so I thought that morning tea for my last day at work would be a great occasion to make it again. This pavlova screams Christmas – well, an Australian one, at least – but Christmas Day at my mother-in-law’s is just too full of food to do this justice, so I thought I would make this for an appreciative crowd, my now ex-work colleagues. with raspberries, cream and chocolate...
Wow. They were blown away. So was I. Things were looking good the night before when I made the meringue base – and learning from last time, I turned the oven down. Everyone’s oven is different, so I really recommend a bit of trial and error when it comes to oven temps. My oven is a fan-forced one, so it’s really hot, and Nigella’s temps of 180C and 150C were far too hot – you’ll see I burnt the last one (and also the first time I made it before that). Looking at other recipes, I noted that Donna Hay cooks her pavlovas at 150C, turning down to 120C, so I did that, and – meringue perfection. I was really proud of myself when it came out of the oven crisp but not burnt!

...consume gorgeous crispy shell, with chewy centre...
Then this morning, I brought in the cream and raspberries, but forgot to bring beaters to whip the cream with. It was looming as a disaster, when the day was saved by my boss Ros and teammate Ben, who came to the rescue by beating the cream by hand with a fork. Thanks guys! The cream is now perfect, too.

Top with the raspberries, sprinkle chocolate on top – and stand back and let the crowd devour. The last image (taken by Ben, thanks again) of the last piece was taken just before someone came and ate it – so once again, a clean plate.

...and watch the crowd devour for an instant hit!
(Photo by Ben J.)
But, my goodness. This is easily one of the best desserts I have ever made. And I make a lot of desserts, so this is saying something. The chocolate meringue was lovely, light and crisp on the outside; gorgeous and chewy on the inside, just like a meringue should be. The combination of chocolate meringue, double cream and fresh, tart raspberries made for an unbelievably amazing flavour combination. I really recommend you give this a go. It’s not hard either. The tricky part is the meringue and once that’s perfected, it’s just cream and raspberries on top.

I used Betty to whip the egg whites; that was her last job for the year and, in fact, here in Australia for a while, as I’m packing her up and taking her to Switzerland when I move in two weeks’ time. I look forward to more cooking adventures with her then!

1 comment:

  1. My own efforts to emulate Nigella were not as successful as this yummy looking concoction of yours! I refer you to my blog where, inspired by your efforts, I have posted something the very anti-thesis of yours. I should point out that while my culinary efforts never quite LOOK right, most of the time they do TASTE as they should. ;-)