Monday, February 18, 2008

The Pavlova Tradition

This past week was full of excitement. Every time the year flips over, we have that one week in February that is especially festive, and it's not only because love is in the air. St. Valentine’s day was the most famous day, but it also contained special days for two of my favorite people, Frannie and her daughter. They both had birthdays last week, all around St. Valentine's Day. I must tell you, I love her daughter. She is my most favorite little girl in the whole world; and she turned eight years-old! It seems like yesterday when we were changing her diapers. Now, I get to discuss the wonders of Pavlova with her. How great is that? I just love her to death. So you can see, the 12th, 13th, and 14th turns out to be a marathon of parties! How divine.

I want to share with you the dinner we had for Valentines Day. We decided that we wanted a light dinner, something to trigger the thoughts and feelings of upcoming spring. A tropical salsa certainly conjured up visions of setting suns and warm breezes. Tropical salsa and fish....yummm. I spooned the tropical salsa overtop lightly pan-seared tilapia. It hit the spot. The salsa really makes the dish spectacular. Fresh pineapple, mangoes, and papaya add the sweetness. The contrast presents itself in the cilantro, jalapeno pepper, fresh lime juice, and roasted red peppers. Just look at the picture, it makes my mouth water.

Dinner was great, the wine was flowing, and conversation took us all over the world. The underlying buzz throughout dinner was everyone's thoughts on dessert. None of us could wait to have a bite of Pavlova! For those unfamiliar, Pavlova is a meringue dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova. It is crispy on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside. The inside is heaped with slightly sweetened whipped cream, and then generously topped with fresh berries. Simple, yet elegant.

The Pavlova tradition took hold of us about 4 years ago and it has become a fixture of our Valentine celebration. I must credit, where credit is due...the Pavlova is Frannie’s creation, and it always comes out spectacular. Take a look at the beautiful colors of the fruit. This dessert is so light and airy. It was perfect. How could it not taste divine?

The taste of the Pavlova warms our heart, but to put the cherry on top is the excitement of an eight year-old. She LOVES Pavlova and was so happy to eat it. It was truly an enchanted evening.

What to Drink:Well, we certainly were celebrating, so it was only natural to have a sparkling wine as we were preparing dinner. We had a beautiful Schramsberg Brut Rose. During dinner, we chose a light Pinot Blanc from Robert Sinskey which worked really well with the fish. And for dessert, we paired the beautiful Pavlova with a dessert wine from Darioush.

Until we can visit again, raise a glass and Cheers to You!

By the way, check out the Foodie BlogRoll on the right of the page. It's a great place to find other food related blogs!

5 egg whites room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp distilled white vinegar

Pre-heat oven at 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with the parchment paper. Use a 9 inch cake pan as template to draw a circle on parchment. In an electric mixer, beat the whites until soft peaks form, gradually beat in sugar, and continue beating until the whites are stiff. Remove bowl, use a rubber spatula to gently fold in cornstarch, vanilla, and vinegar.

On the dedicated parchment circle, spoon ¾ of the meringue. Using a knife, make a cake-shaped mound. Then spoon the rest of the meringue around the edges to form a well.

2 cups of heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks to make whipped cream

1 pint strawberries
1 pint blueberries
1 pint raspberries

Bake for one hour and then turn oven off and let meringue sit in oven for 3 hours, or until oven is cold.

Transfer the meringue to a large cake plate. Fill the center of the meringue with the whipped cream. Place the berries on top.


JGF said...

OK -- now I'm just being piggy--but I would like the recipe for the salsa that you put on the fish!

Renee said...

jgf - thanks for the comment! I should have put put the recipe on my blog - it was so easy - here it is...
2 mangoes diced (more if you like more)
3/4 of a diced FRESH pineapple (more if you like)
1/2 - 3/4 large Papaya
1 jalapeno - diced small
1 cup or so diced roasted red peppers
Juice of 2 limes (plus zest)
Handful of chopped cilantro

Mix it together and viola!

Nicolette (Nikki) Miller-Ka said...

I haven't made pavlova in a long time. I love your pic of it!

In my fruit salsa, I add a bit of mint sometimes; it lifts it a little.

Renee said...

Thank you for the comment on the Pavlova.

Mint sounds like a yummy addition to the salsa. I will have to try that next time. I bet it does brighten the flavors.

Mandy said...

I am waiting for summer to come so that I can make a pavlova filled with gorgeous berries on top!