(La version français sera bientôt disponible)
I’m going to start this post with a little bit of honesty. This Pavlova was not the result of a delightful afternoon spent baking. It was not my first attempt, or second, or third. This pavlova is the result of many afternoons swearing about unusual things like whipped cream and crying over the complicated nature of well, everything in France.
When I was kid one of the first things I learned to do in the kitchen is make whipped cream or chantilly as it’s called here. It’s so easy. You whip the cream and add some sugar and vanilla, et voilà! Here, it is not that simple. First you have the problem of selecting the right cream. In Australia cream is cream and the only thing you have to decide is the brand. Here, there are hundreds to choose from with only a small percentage suitable for chantilly. The second problem is that you can’t mix two together, even if they are identical, if they are not from the same pack (cream comes in packs of three). The third problem is that you cannot whip too vigorously or it won’t work. And the final problem is that sometimes you will be really fortunate and have a good carton of cream that whips perfectly, however, when you try again the next day with the second one in the pack, you can stand there whipping until your arms almost fall and not have the slightest bit of thickness. It makes you feel as if you are going crazy when you can no longer do something which was once so simple. Luckily I discovered a cream called ‘Créme fluide au mascarpone à fouetter’. This prevented me from being admitted to the local insane asylum. You can buy this in most supermarkets in France and you can be guaranteed that it will work perfectly every time.
Anyone who has made a pavlova before knows that the cream should not be the complicated element. The actual meringue part of the pavlova is incredibly tricky to master. It needs to be dry and crispy on the outside yet a light, moist, mousse like constancy in the middle. I have found that this is impossible to create this without cream of tartar which is available in almost all supermarkets in Australia and of course, available pretty much nowhere in France. After many failed attempts without this, I finally found a tiny, overpriced pot of ‘crème de tartre’ in a shop called MORA in les Halles. So, if you’re making this in France it is worth following my advice. Buy the right cream and hunt down some ‘crème de tartre’ and you will have the perfect pavlova!
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
- 220g of castor sugar
- 2tsp of cornflour
- 1tsp vinegar
- 200g of raspberries (frozen or fresh)
- 75g butter
- 1 gelatin leaf
- 55g of sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 300ml cream
- a pinch of vanilla
- 3 tbsp of castor sugar
Method, Meringue: Preheat oven to 120degrees C. Whip egg whites until stiff adding sugar gradually. Once egg whites are stiff enough that you can hold the bowl upside-down above your head without any disasters, fold in the cream of tartare, vinegar and cornflour. Bake for an hour and half and then leave in the oven with the door ajar to cool.
Raspberry curd (This can be made the day before): Defrost raspberries, blend into a purée and strain though a fine sieve. Soak the gelatin leaf in a bowl of cold water. Fill a saucepan one third full with water and bring to a simmer. Place raspberry purée in a bowl over the simmering water. Add butter, sugar and egg yolks. Stir continuously until it thickens. This can take up to 20mins. Take off the heat and stir in thoroughly the soaked gelatin leaf. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight before using.
Putting the pavlova together: Whip the cream to the desired consistency adding sugar gradually. Stir though vanilla seeds. When the pavlova is completely cooled, gently top with cream and decorate with berries. Use a piping bag to pipe swirls of the raspberry curd between the berries.