I feel that in the kitchen, as in life, opportunities present themselves and one must be ever vigilant to recognize them. My beloved pal Sarah came to stay the other day, and presented me with a hitherto unexplored ingredient--a carton of organic egg whites. They sat there until yesterday when I noticed that I'd better do something with them before they set about expiringand making me send them to a better place before they reached their full potential.
But what could I make with the equivalent of ten egg whites? I cast about for a solution. The yummy looking egg white frittata that I saw in the New York Times the other day perchance? Then I remembered that I'd been seduced by a huge vat of blueberries at Costco the other day. I knew they weren't in season and had clearly been shipped from the other side of the world (which I normally try to resist) however, on Monday when it was so cold and wintry, the spector of the blueberries had been completely irresistible.
And then it came to me...my old pal Pavlova! A few years ago, my friend Karen started me on a pavlova craze when she was bitten by the bug in London. Although it originated in Australia, I too remember pavlova from England and am always happy for that stroll down memory lane.
So a blueberry pavlova it was to be, but what else could I use to zazz it up? I love lemons with blueberries, as evidenced by my beloved lemon curd and blueberry trifle--which is sure to make its appearance here in the coming months when blueberries really ARE in season. I remembered that I had a lovely jar of lemon curd stowed away in the pantry, so I wouldn't even have to make it from scratch. A new pavlova was born!
Now, let me just say from the beginning, that though the end result was delicious, my tinkering, as tinkering tends to do, did not produce a flawless result.
In using the entire carton, I made the behemoth of all pavlovas. Ridiculously large, obscenely large, untenably large. Plus, I forgot that egg whites grow, so, while I intended it to quietly live within the confines of the perfect 9 " circle I'd carefully drawn on the parchment paper and filled in, it swelled and rolled tsunami-like down the pan creating a sort of football field of a pavlova. By then, it was too late, I mean, what 'cha gonna do?
I whipped a goodly amount of cream, folded in a half-jar of lemon curd, clad the football field with the lemony cream and covered it with blueberries. Though it wasn't the most perfect pavlova in appearance, it sure tasted great. Plus, we only made it until half-time, if you see what I mean, so there's another huge portion for tonight.
I've written the following recipe in such a way as to, hopefully, reduce the likelihood of your making the largest pavlova in the world. It's very easy and, in a manageable size is a very pretty and delicious treat. I will say, I think it may spawn a pavlova craze for me--and perhaps for you--so I'll keep you posted on other pavlovian tinkerings I feel coming on.
And, like Pavlov's dog, I feel certain that no matter how many pavlovas I create around here, they'll be barking for more.
Blueberry and Lemon Curd Pavlova
8 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup lemon curd
1 pint blueberries
1 baking sheet and parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 350. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 9 inch circle on the paper.
Beat the egg whites and salt until satiny peaks form. Beat in the sugar, approximately 1/4 cup at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle on cornstarch and vinegar and fold in. Mound meringue onto the baking sheet within the circle, flattening the top.
Put in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 275 degrees. Cook for 1 3/4hours. Turn off the oven but leave the pavlova in to cool completely with the oven door open.
Beat the whipping cream and fold in the lemon curd. Remove the parchment paper from the meringue and place it on the serving platter. Heap the whipped cream on top and cover with the blueberries.