Sunday, 23 June 2013

Don't make a mess ... Strawberry Pavlova

I simply couldn't resist! While being on the local farmers market, strawberries were smiling at me. When strawberries smile at you, the only thing a man can do is ... go and buy them. Said and done! It was just a spur of the moment thing. I didn't have much in mind to do with them, apart from eating, which of course would be sufficient in itself.
However, as soon as the strawberries were in my possession, the mind started working. What do I still have at home and what do I fancy? Oh, I could do a simple cake with the strawberries on top. You could enjoy that with a dollop of cream.
"No", I said to myself "you are not going to bake anything!"
Well, then, I could make a mess, an Eton Mess. That would be lovely. Fine, you need meringue for that. I don't have any on stock and I don't want to go and buy some anyway.
What now? I could do a dish with courgettes and egg yolks at another time, which would leave me with some unused egg whites.

Accordingly I took myself a medium sized bowl and another one for storing and separated three eggs. The yolks went into the fridge for later use.

Here we are with those innocent egg whites. "You are not going to bake anything!" Right? So I turned the oven to 160 °C. The egg whites got one or two teaspoons of vanilla sugar and - who knows how much - maybe 200 g of plain white sugar. Then I too my handheld electric mixer and went on working the ingredients together.
If you would try to make meringues properly, you would go and first stiffen the egg whites until they form soft peaks and then add the sugar bit by bit and make things shiny. I couldn't be bothered at that time.

I prepared a baking sheet with baking parchment and just poured the content of my bowl on it. The tray went into the oven for 1 hour. That can be quite some time if you have some strawberries smiling at you. There is only one thing a man can do, when strawberries are smiling at him ... as a result I worked myself through the strawberries ... bit by bit.
At one point I restrained myself and did something else.

The large meringue was ready and I put it out to cool. Of course, you could leave it in the oven with the oven door slightly open and leave it to cool there. I couldn't be bothered.

I had some cream in the oven waiting eagerly to be put to great use. A bowl ... cream poured in it ... some more vanilla sugar ... and the mixer again. 
Now, if you are as skilled as I am, you manage some of the cream to spill out of the bowl before it is completely whipped. Whatever!
I squeezed a few strawberries and mixed them with the cream.

The cream in that state came over the meringue and then ... what was left of the strawberries, cut into quarters.

That didn't look that bad.  After all that, there were still enough strawberries left. Normally I would just eat it and don't think further about it, but in blog world, things need names.
To make a short story long, I can't dance. What does this have to do wit it? Here we are. Pavlova came to my mind. As far as I remembered it is some kind of dessert with meringue. So I checked it on Wikipedia just to make sure my mind was working correctly. It was.
According to Wikipedia, "Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova." Right, I still can't dance and if I could, it would for sure be far from called ballet. Ah, maybe I can dance a tiny bit after all, But how could I know.
So just one more fact I found out during my research. Pavlova (not the dancer), at least that is what is believed, was first created after or during on of Pavlova's (yes, the dancer) tour to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. This dessert was created in honour to the ballet dancer Anna Pavlova.

Anyway, this particular dessert was not created in honour of her, but rather in honour of the strawberries that smiled at me and in honour to my stomach, which needs some delicious treats from time to time.
Another interesting thought, I could have made a mess - Eton Mess - using the very same ingredients. Just a thought. Simply five simple ingredients and you can even make different things out of it. Have a look again ...

With that now, I can't claim anymore, I never made a Pavlova. After all, that must be a Strawberry Pavlova. However, I still can claim, I can't dance.
Now I go and continue to make a mess (NOT an Eton Mess) ...

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