Saturday, June 13, 2015

Yes Chef: When Rooibos Met Pavlova!

Nope…this is not a script to a Hollywood movie. Pavlova is actually a dessert very popular in Australia and New Zealand. It was named in honour of the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova after her performances in the two countries. However, it is not clear who created this meringue sweet treat.  The Aussies or the Kiwis? WHO CARES!?! Put on some Waltzing Matilda, and let’s eat, drink, and be merry!

Pavlova requires very few ingredients, and is not the most attractive dessert, but you can dress it up and create something really special. Traditionally, the meringue is topped with whipped-cream and designed with your choice of fruits and berries. I’ve actually introduced Rooibos to Pavlova. They sure are a lovely match! You really can taste the Rooibos even with the addition of the berries and drizzle of Cassis I used for my dessert.

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 ½ tablespoons ground Rooibos
  • Whites of 4 eggs
  • Some berries
  • Drizzle of Cassis

Preparation:

1.   Preheat your oven to 150°C.

2.   Sift the powdered sugar and cornstarch together, then add the granulated sugar and ground Rooibos.


Sugar mountain!

3.   I used a hand-held power whisk to whip the egg whites until they started to foam. Then, I began to add the sugar mixture in small amounts as I continued to whisk until stiff peaks formed.

Whisking whites!

4.   On a baking tray lined with parchment paper, I scooped out the mixture, forming a round mound with a long spatula.

5.   Bake until the meringue is hard on the outside and soft inside. It was about an hour and half. Use a toothpick to test the consistency.

6.   Remove from the oven and allow to cool down until it’s just warm. Now get ready to design!

7.   I cut a slice of the meringue and placed it on a plate. Then, I added some strawberries and blackberries off to the side. As an added touch of flavour, I drizzled some Cassis, a black currant liqueur, over the meringue and berries. 

Sweet slice!

So good! It’s not super sweet as you would expect. The texture is what I like the best! A delicate crunch on the outside, and soft, like marshmallow, on the inside. Light hints of Rooibos can be detected in both taste and aroma. 

Forkin' delish!

Go crazy with your toppings! Use kiwi fruit, raspberries, or even banana slices. Try different nuts and other teas and tisanes too. How does an Earl Grey and lavender Pavlova sound? Or perhaps a green tea and pistachio Pavlova? The ideas are endless! 

Don’t worry too much about the appearance of the meringue either. I once went to restaurant and had Pavlova served to me in a bowl. The meringue was broken into pieces, mixed together with whipped-cream and half-smashed berries. Not the prettiest to look at, but so good to eat!



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