There are few things I enjoy making as much as meringue. It's total magic to me - whipping viscous egg whites with sugar until they transform into beautiful, glossy, swirly peaks.
And of course devouring it is pretty magical too - soft and marshmallowy, it's like eating a cloud.
I was recently given a copy of a cookbook called Meringue, by Linda Jackson and Jennifer Evans Gardner, and fell in love. It covers all the bases, from beautiful, inspired pavlovas to classic baked alaska, violet macarons, Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, and Blood Orange Curd Meringue Tart with Dark Chocolate (um... YES PLEASE!!!).
Although I think the cover photo alone could sell the book, don't you think?
I made this pavlova for Easter dinner at a friend's house. I love the pairing of kiwi with fresh mint and lime. Because my friend can't have dairy (or gluten, for that matter - this is also celiac friendly) I made it with whipped coconut cream in lieu of regular whipped cream.
All you have to do is refrigerate two cans of regular (not lite) coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Open them up the next day and scoop out all the hardened coconut cream - it will be sitting on top of the thinner milk below. Whip the coconut cream with sugar in an electric stand mixer as you would dairy cream, and it makes a beautiful, billowing whipped topping.
As you can see in the first photo, it could fool anyone. I find the coconut flavour quite assertive, though, and it seems a bit richer - not necessarily bad things, but I do prefer regular whipped cream, so I left the recipe as the authors intended.
I can't make a pavlova without sending some love to my Aussie "sister" Hannah. While making it, I felt like we were back in the kitchen together - her showing me how to incorporate the sugar ever-so-slowly, coaching me on the importance of cooling it inside the oven, and describing all the luscious tropical fruits growing in her parent's backyard that would top her pavlovas growing up. Miss you, Hannah banana!
Recipe from Meringue, by Linda Jackson and Jennifer Evans Gardner
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup sugar (authors recommend superfine, I used regular - it was fine)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 2 limes (about 1 tbsp)
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 6 fresh kiwis, peeled and sliced
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 to 2 tbsp sugar (authors recommend superfine, I used regular - it was fine)
- 1 heaping tbsp chopped fresh mint
- drizzle of rum, optional (I skipped it)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy. Add vinegar and salt and beat on medium-high to soft peaks. Slowly add sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, beating on high until whites are stiff and shiny. Add vanilla and lime zest then sprinkle cornstarch over whites and beat until incorporated.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, pipe or spoon meringue into a 10-inch circle, making sides higher than the center. Place in oven and turn heat dow immediately to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes and then turn oven off, leaving meringue in for an additional 40 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool. When completely cool, remove meringue by gently peeling it off the parchment or by sliding an offset spatula/knife underneath the shell.
With an electric mixer, whip cream and sugar into stiff peaks. Chill until ready to use.
Place sliced kiwis in a medium bowl. Add lime juice, sugar, mint and rum (if using) and gently toss. Let macerate for 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
Fill pavlova shell with whipped cream and toss with macerated kiwis.