As you may or may not know, I’m on a gluten-free kick, and being a pastry chef closes doors and opens windows for me.
I’m a fattie when it comes to sweets but at least I’m qualified to deal with this ‘no gluten thing’ and make changes to already great recipes.
Tonight, I wanted meringue. Great thing is – it’s gluten free!
I remember making pavlovas when I worked in the distillery district – we had to make them fresh every day. I was schooled by a true Australian. Not just a talking to – nah, that doesn’t have ‘Yes Chef!’ written on it anywhere. I was yelled at and I had my product thrown in the garbage; good thing it only happened once.
I was told that pavlovas were one of the most delicate desserts that came out of Australia.
A perfect pavlova need to have a crunchy shell, a pillowy and soft interior, and a light colour to them. There’s a sense of pride that can be held with a perfect pavlova because not many people can do it – yeah right. They’re super easy if you have everything you need and you don’t over bake them.
I grabbed my mixer and got started.
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice – I used a touch of cream or tartar instead
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pint heavy cream
Fresh or stewed fruit
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites (and cream of tartar if using) until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and cornstarch. (I mixed this in on ‘Stir’ on my mixer last. Do not add vanilla in any earlier than this because it will deflate your meringue)
Using an ice cream scoop, gently scoop the meringue on to the parchment. They will expand slightly.
Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. Remove the paper, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream, and top with fruit of choice.
This is a great recipe to make for any occasion and it only took me one episode of Family Guy to make all the components, bake, and clean up.