January 26, 2009

Pavlova for Australia Day!

G'Day Better Recipes!

Today our friends "Down Under" are celebrating Australia Day. January 26th is also known as Anniversary Day or Foundation Day and is the official national day of Australia.

In honor of this country that I love so much, I thought this would be a good opportunity to post a fun "Budget Diva"recipe.

Dessert From Down Under - Australian Pavlova

3 egg whites at room temperature
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup extra fine or super fine sugar (if you can't find it, just whirl some granulated sugar in a food processor until it is half the granular size and measure)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
3-4 cups assorted fresh fruits such as strawberries, kiwi and blackberries

In a clean bowl, beat egg whites and salt with an electric mixer, until stiff and dry. Gradually add extra fine sugar, beating well after each addition. Combine granulated sugar and cornstarch then lightly fold into meringue with lemon juice. Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Set an oven rack in lower third of oven. If using a gas stove, set temperature to 225 degrees, if using an electric oven, set to 275 degrees. Spread a thin 8 inch round layer of meringue on cookie sheet to form a bottom base. Pipe or spoon remaining meringue around sides to form walls of the shell. Bake 1 hour if using a gas stove, and 30-40 minutes if using an electric stove. When meringue is firm, turn off oven, open door slightly, and let meringue cool completely in oven. Just before serving, whip cream. Fold in vanilla and confectioner's sugar then pile into the meringue shell. Decorate with fresh fruit in and around shell.

There is a long standing debate about whether New Zealand or Australia invented the dessert, which is yet to be resolved. What is known, is that it is named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926. The chef who invented it said he wanted a dessert as light and airy as her dancing. The dessert is a popular dish in both countries, and is frequently eaten during celebratory or holiday meals. It can be made several days in advance and stored in an airtight container.

Cheers Mates!

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