I was asked to bring a dessert to an Easter party and I decided to make Pavlova (previous post). As most of you know, this is an especially popular dessert in New Zealand and Australia and I have had many excellent renditions. It's a combination of a Meringue base - basically just whipped egg whites and sugar that is baked - topped with Whipped Cream and fresh fruit. But yesterday, I decided to change things up a bit and toast the Meringue instead of keeping it the usual stark white color where it primarily just acts as the crunchy sweet base for the rest of the ingredients. My goal was to give it the flavor of perfectly toasted campfire Marshmallows along with some crunch and it worked. The color came through the whipped cream and contrasted beautifully and the flavor was fantastic! I really wish I had made more marshmallows in the past that tasted like this, as usually they got a bit burnt - now I will make this Meringue instead. Anyway, I topped the Toasted Meringue with Whipped Cream, Strawberries and Kiwi Fruit and it was a big hit. Next time I make it, I am going to whip Coconut Cream instead to make it Lactose Free. For me, this is goodbye to white Meringues and from now on, toasted is definitely the way to go!
4 Egg Whites
2/3 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Hot Water
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut an 9 inch square sheet of Parchment Paper and place on a baking tray. Combine the Egg Whites, Sugar, Vinegar and Hot Water in a large mixing bowl and mix with an Electric Mixer on high speed for 5 - 7 minutes, until soft peaks form.
Spoon the Egg White Mixture onto the Parchment Paper to make an 8 inch circle. Place baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Then lower the heat to 250 degrees for an additional 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let sit for an additional 15 minutes with the door open. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Remove to a serving dish and carefully remove the parchment. The Meringue is now ready for topping. This can be made up to one day ahead if stored covered.
Five Element Analysis
Eggs belong to the Water Element and the sugar adds the Earth Element. The cream will contribute the Metal Element and the Strawberries will bring in the Fire Element. Only the Wood Element will be missing so do like the Kiwis do, and add green Kiwi fruit to create a balanced Five Element dessert!