Everyone loves summer, and how could you not? The weather turns warm and toasty, sundresses, shorts and sandals come out of the closet, and every day seems to be bathed in this perfect golden hue. But for me, I’ve always been fonder of the colder months (or at least the idea of them).
I love keeping warm by the fireplace, snuggling up under piles of blankets, cozy sweaters and steamy mugs of hot chocolate. Coming from a constantly warm climate, it is so refreshing to be able to dress in coats and boots and see my breath in the air, the tip of my nose tinged pink from the crisp breeze.
It’s a novelty that I still haven’t gotten enough of, though I’m sure spending a year on the east coast would do that to ya! That’s why I was so surprised when the summer months crept on in this year and I found myself… actually enjoying it.
Roy and I have spent many afternoons laying out by the pool, my trusty Kindle in hand. I have worn sunglasses on more than one occasion and have made use of much of my summer attire. I marveled at the sweetness of summer fruits in season and found a deeper appreciation for ice cold drinks and ice cream. But what’s changed? I can only imagine it’s from spending most summers at home in the past, getting used to the “Hawaiian time” everyone seems to run on in the islands. A rare thing to see in Los Angeles. However, I’ve since noticed something like a mellow fog roll in with the heat and settle in over the city, making it feel just a tinge more easy-going.
It’s this slightly slowed pace of a California summer that makes any small warm weather annoyances disappear. The moments that would unreasonably frustrate me now feel light and fleeting; the hustle and bustle of cars moving under the afternoon sun, awkward tan lines on my feet from wearing Toms too often, and sweating bullets–my biggest nightmare.
Oh, how I am whole-heartedly enjoying summer time. It’s been this realization of how much sweeter, jucier, and all around more delicious-er the fruits are right now that has driven me nearly mad with excitement. Figs, stone fruit, and berries galore have been my world and I really wanted to encompass all of them into an end of summer dessert for you guys.
So I did it. I hopped on the Pavlova train! And all I have to say is that I get it now. I totally get it now… how it isn’t just one giant meringue cookie but so much more, and how stressful it is to get your Pav onto a serving platter without causing it to crack. Most importantly, I finally get why everyone loves them. It’s light, so unbelievably light and airy that it melts in your mouth. There’s a slight crunch from the hardened shell that gives way to a wonderful marshmallowey texture inside. Paired with whipped cream, lemon curd, fresh fruits and a raspberry coulis, this gorgeous dessert is loaded with so much YUM.
As a friend said, “It’s like biting into a sugary cloud.”
Here are a few Pavlovas that have totally inspired this one here. Give ’em a click!
Blue Finch Photography – Wedding Pavlova
Fix Feast Flair – Stone Fruit and Pine Nut Pavlova
i am a food blog – Raspberry Pistachio Pavlova
Guys Love Cooking – Berry Palova
La Pêche Fraîche – Meyer Lemon, Berry, Thyme, and Yogurt Pavlova
Summer’s End Pavlova
Adapted from Blue Finch Photography
Notes: I found that parchment paper worked best as using a silpat didn’t allow the Pavlova to cook fully. The Pavlova can be made three days ahead of serving. After cooling, transfer the pavlova to an airtight container. Top with whipped cream and fresh fruits just before serving.
8 egg whites
500 g caster sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
whipped cream (whisk 2 cups of heavy cream until the cream is thick enough to hold its shape)
the juice from a handful of raspberries (use a spoon to smash the raspberries through a fine mesh sieve, discard the pulp and seeds and save the juice)
figs, peaches, concord grapes, blackberries, and raspberries for decorating
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
2. Draw a 9 inch circle on two sheets of parchment paper with a pencil. Flip each over and line a baking pan with each sheet. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk your egg whites to soft peak stage. Begin adding the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue to whisk until the meringue becomes thick and glossy and holds stiff peaks. You can check if the sugar is completely dissolved by rubbing a bit of the meringue between your fingers. If you feel any gritty sugar granules, continue to whisk until the meringue feels smooth.
3. Remove the mixing bowl from the stand. Fold the cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla bean paste very lightly into the meringue using a metal spoon until just combined.
4. Spoon the meringue out evenly onto each baking sheet, keeping within the stenciled circle. Use the spoon to flatten and spread the top of the meringue into an even disc shape.
5. Place in the oven and turn down the head to 230°F. Bake for an hour, then turn off the oven and let cool for another hour with the oven door closed.
6. Very carefully remove the Pavlovas from the oven. Transfer one to your serving platter. Top with whipped cream and lemon curd. Add the second Pavlova base on top. Decorate with the rest of the whipped cream and more lemon curd. Arrange slices of fresh fruits on top and drizzle with raspberry juice as desired. Serve immediately.
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