Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cardamom Pavlova with Pistachios and Lime Whip

You're looking at our Easter 2012 dessert -- which followed an impressive spread from Jake's dad Dave (fried risotto balls, garlic spaghetti, pancetta-wrapped pork loin... and so on).

Jake and I finally got around to trying Bachelor Farmer a couple weeks back, where we we thought we might run into our "neighbor" the governor (his two sons own the restaurant) but instead, almost brushed elbows with Sen. Al Franken (he was two tables over).

We had a dessert that was similar to this, and I knew I needed to learn how to make pavolova -- which is essentially a ginormous meringue.

I've had ground cardamom from Penzey's for a few months now that I haven't really found a good use for. I followed this recipe from as a reference. I added 1 1/2 tsp of ground cardamom in the last step.

Having never really worked with meringue before, I decided to to a dry run the night before (as we were making our Easter pierogies):

Here's the dry run. I kept poking at this one every few minutes between 55 and 65 minutes of bake time to see how well done it was in the middle. In our Breville toaster/convection oven, 65 minutes at 250 F with convection on was perfect.

I didn't have enough heavy whipping cream to make two batches, so I just topped this version with some boozy berry sauce I threw together (1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup mixed frozen blackberries and raspberries, 1/2 cup sweet white wine, 1/4 cup sugar, combine over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently).

I mixed the zest of two limes, some powdered sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract into one cup of heavy whipping cream to make the whipped topping. I would have liked a little more whip, but this was the perfect amount to cover the 8-ish inch pavlova.

So, after the pavolva comes out of the oven, allow to cool slightly, spread the whipped cream, sprinkle with 2-3 good handfuls of shelled pistachios, then top with 1-2 cups of sliced strawberries.

Adapted from

For the pavlova:
4 large egg whites with no traces of yolk, at room temperature
 Pinch fine salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

(use a stand mixer with wire whisk attachment)

* Beat egg whites and salt until bubbles start to disappear (1-2 minutes), then slowly stream in the sugar. Increase whipping to medium and beat for 3-4 more minutes until stiff peaks form. Your mixture will be glossy and sticky, like marshmallow fluff.
* Sprinkle cornstarch over the surface, then pour in vanilla, vinegar and cardamom. Fold in gently until combined.
* Turn the mixture out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a rubber spatula to make a nice round shape and try to smooth it out as best you can.
* Bake at 250 F for 65 minutes if you have convection, about 75 if not.
* Cool slightly, then top with lime whipped cream, pistachios and berries.

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