Last year I realized that a holiday where you make a giant meal and then have a ton of dishes to clean right in the middle of the workweek is stupid. So this year we are pushing our big meal to the weekend. But that meant we had Thursday free and needed an activity, so we brushed off our list of bakes we want to try.
I think I made some meringue once before, for a food science class. I can't remember what I did with said meringue - I don't think I had time to make anything out of it, so it probably just went into the compost. Several of the bakes we want to try involve meringue, so we decided to start with one that seemed not too difficult - the pavlova!
We couldn't find superfine sugar at our grocery store, so we used the food processor to turn our granulated sugar into slightly more fine sugar.
While G was working on that, M decided to put on an apron.
G went to get one too, but discovered that M had taken what was G's apron (but fits M better now I'm sure) and the one left in the drawer was M's old apron, so that clearly wasn't going to work! It was a little debatable if he could even get his head through the loop.
After sorting out the aprons (giving Ryan's apron to G to use), we whisked up our egg whites with cream of tartar before starting to slowly add the sugar/cornstarch. The kids helped a lot with the sugar adding, trying to do this step slowly. I think we didn't wait quite long enough between adding each spoonful, because at the end the sugar wasn't fully dissolved. I let the mixer run longer, which helped some but I was also not sure if this was the kind of thing you can overbeat and was getting nervous about that, so eventually we just decided to go for it.
They made pavlovas on GBBO this season and some people piped while others just spooned the egg whites onto their sheet and then shaped it. We opted for the latter for our first one, partly because this seems a little more traditional.
Once you put it in the oven it's a waiting game. It cooks at a low temperature for about an hour and then is supposed to cool in the oven for 1 hour to overnight. We didn't want to wait overnight for this, so gave it a couple hours of cooling time.
I was pretty worried it would be weepy given how I could feel the sugar in the mixture still, but it wasn't! The center did sink some with cooling - can't remember if that is related to not having cooked quite enough vs the sugar not being thoroughly incorporated issue.
Verdict: delicious, but very sweet. Next time we do this we're thinking of using something tart to cut the sweetness. You got some of that from the kiwi and the raspberries, but a lemon curd would probably be more effective. Or maybe something a little more on the savory side, like nuts. We'll have to look around for ideas. Overall, not an extremely difficult bake and will taste and look good even if it doesn't turn out perfectly. Moderately time consuming, though most of it is inactive time while baking and cooling the pavlova.
Words cannot express how impressed I am that you would even attempt such a thing. Meringues are so out of my league I practically consider them black magic. Triple points for having the patience to let your kids help you in the kitchen!
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