Monday, August 23, 2010

A Little Pillow of Heaven....

Last week, Andrew and I happened to bump into one of the guys, the MSG as I will call him, that Andrew used to work with at Fort Bragg, who just happened to be here at Lost-in-the-Woods for some training. We were thrilled to see a familiar face, and we invited him over for dinner since his wife did not accompany him here. We thought he'd enjoy a home cooked meal instead of something out of the microwave or from a drive thru!

I made some Caprese Chicken, Roasted Garlic Potatoes (amazing!), and some sauteed zucchini and yellow squash. It was a great meal as most of it came from our garden, the farmer's market, or the local farm where we buy most of our meat from. It's amazing what a difference food makes when it's really fresh and raised without loads of hormones and pesticides!

The crowing jewel of the meal with the pavlova I whipped up for dessert. I knew the MSG ate a relatively healthy diet so I thought pavlova would be a nice light change to a typical dessert. I have loads of egg whites in the freezer that I have been waiting to use for some time now. I figured it would be nice and easy to make a pavlova ahead of time and have it waiting in the fridge. I used some of the fresh fruit at the store, and I spread some of the fresh apricot preserves I recently made on top. DELICIOUS!! Good thing Andrew's friends at work love anything he brings in because it will be going to class with him tomorrow! Otherwise, I'll sit here all day picking away at it. Needless to say, this little gem will definitely be going in the keeper box of recipes.

Pavlova with Fresh Fruit
(adapted from Simply...Gluten Free)
8 egg whites
pinch of Kosher salt
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla 
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Fresh fruit
1/2 cup apricot preserves

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place silpat mat or parchment paper of baking sheet. Beat egg whites with salt in a large mixing bowl until they start to firm up, about 1 minute. With the mixer going slowly add the sugar and continue to beat until it forms firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
2. Sift the cornstarch onto the egg whites and add the vinegar and vanilla. Fold lightly with a spatula. Pile the egg white mixture onto the parchment paper in two separate piles and gently smooth the mixture to form a  circle starting from the middle and working out in all directions until you have a round disk.
3. Bake for 1 ½ hours and then turn off the oven and let cool completely in the oven.

4. Beat heavy whipping cream with 1/4 cup of sugar until it forms soft peaks. Do not over beat.
5. When the Pavlova is completely cooled, peel off the parchment paper and place one Pavlova on serving platter. Spread whipped cream evenly over the Pavlova, and then brush with 1/4 cup of apricot preserves. Place second Pavlova on top of the first. Spread remaining whipped cream on top. Pile fresh fruit ( I used yellow kiwi, strawberries, and nectarines) on whipped cream, and then brush with remaining apricot preserves.

It's like a little pillow of heaven! So good and not too sweet!


Maranda said...

Oh man I love pavlova!!! This meal would beat what I had tonight any day! Missed you tonight!!! Glad you had fun and the meal turned out yummy!

Beth said...

I'm impressed with the pavlova! We need to do a recipe swap once were both back from FL. I'm starting to feel like we're getting into a rut.