Gingered-Peach Pavlova: Special Guest Post!
This weekend Z and I are heading out to Nantucket to visit our wonderful friend Jamie. Jamie was not only my roommate in college for 2 years, but we lived together in Brooklyn before I moved to Boston! She is amazingly fabulous, one of my very best friends, and is going to be the best art therapist the world has known when she graduates from grad school next year. And, importantly, she is the one who introduced me to Z! Her laugh in infectious and her personality lights up the room. (I would continue to gush, but there’s a recipe to get to!)
Jamie has been on a cooking roll this summer, so I asked her if she would want to write a guest post for Yumventures. So here it is for you all to see! And I know the recipe is to die for…I ate it the last time she made it when I went to visit her in July! Enjoy!
Anyone who knows Sophie personally or reads her blog knows that her passion for food is infectious and I am proof of her inspirational influence! Having lived with me for two years in college and a year in NYC, Sophie always knew me as the “cereal for dinner” girl. While I could always whip together a quick meal (see the peanut sauce from a previous post) I typically didn’t cook full meals unless it involved entertaining other people. For some reason I was just never that into cooking just for myself.
Then living with Sophie finally rubbed off on me! It was our last year of living together in Greenpoint together and Sophie began cooking like a fiend. Her plates were so beautiful and smelled so good; I simply couldn’t continue eating on the fly the way I did. While I would like to give Sophie all of the credit, my relationship with food also changed when I started Graduate school after years of working. Without a steady income and the looming time-suck that is homework, I realized that my choices were:
1) Eating cheap fast-food, causing me to gain lots of weight and having to call Omar the tent-maker.
2) Becoming a better cook so I could quickly and confidently organize and cook meals for my week.
Thankfully I took up Sophie’s example and chose the latter! As such I have slowly worked to become a better cook and below is an example of a dish I would have foolishly thought too difficult in the past. No longer fearful, I made this amazing Pavlova recipe for Sophie, Lauren and Alissa (see the Disappearing Brownie Sundae) when they visited me in Nantucket. The meringues and peaches can be prepared the day before so this is the perfect recipe for when you want to break up the steps and spend more time with friends!
Gingered-Peach Pavlovas with Berry Whipped Cream Topping (adapted from Bon Appetit)
½ cup of sugar, divided
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 large egg whites, room temp
1/8 cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 250F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar and the cornstarch in a small bowl and then set aside. With an electric mixer (unless you as Wonderwoman) beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Beat in vanilla and then gradually beat in the remaining sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Then sift the cornstarch/sugar mixture over the meringue and gently fold into the mixture.
Create six mounds of the meringue on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet (approximately ¼ cup for each mound), spacing them apart from each other. Then use the back of a spoon to create an indentation in the center of each mound.
Bake meringues for 55 minutes or until the outside is barely golden brown and crisp. You want the outside to be firm but for the inside to still be soft. Once fully baked, transfer the meringues to a rack to cool (using a metal spatula is suggested as the meringues can be sticky). If you are making the meringues a day ahead store them at room temperature in a container so that they are not touching each other (they could begin sticking to each other). If you are making them the day of simply wait to serve until they have cooled to room temperature.
2 cups of water
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
3 firm but ripe large peaches, peeled, halved, pitted*
*A tip for peeling peaches: Using a knife, carefully score the peaches and then place into a pot of boiling water for approximately 2 minutes. Remove from the water and then begin peeling along scored lines once they have cooled enough to touch (or run them under cool water as you begin peeling). This can also be used to peel tomatoes and it does really help.
Combine 2 cups of water, fresh lemon juice, sliced ginger and 1-¼ cups of sugar into a large saucepan. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for five minutes. Add the peach halves to the saucepan and remove from heat. Cool the entire mixture to room temperature, turning occasionally (and basting the peaches with the syrup). Transfer entire mixture with peaches to a bowl and chill in the fridge until cold. Again this can be made a day ahead of time; simply keep refrigerated overnight.
Immediately before serving, remove the peach halves from the syrup and cut them into wedges. Keep the syrup.
Berries and Topping (Berries can be changed based on what is in season/available)
½ cup of fresh raspberries
½ cup of fresh blackberries
½ of chilled heavy whipping cream
1 ½ tablespoons sugar (OPTIONAL, I did not use sugar with my whipped cream)
Place the raspberries and blackberries in a small bowl. Add four tablespoons of the peach syrup to the berries and toss to coat.
Beat the heavy whipping cream (and sugar if you so choose) with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
To serve: place one meringue on each plate, place some whipped cream in the center of the meringue and then top with berries and peaches. Spoon some of the leftover syrup over the plate and enjoy!
Not to toot my horn too much but I loved this desert! I found it to be a light and refreshing summer dessert that hopefully honored the Russian ballet dancer (Ánna Pávlova) for which this recipe is named after. It’s definitely a recipe I plan on repeating, possibly even this season before the summer slips away! Maybe this will be a good way to bribe my ‘Cuse girls to come back and visit me again….
Happy Summer Everyone!
Check out some of Jamie’s real photography (aka not when I’m standing next to her saying “Remember to take a picture!!”) at www.jamieshoneman.com. She is an amaaaazing photographer, as well as a friend. We are probably relaxing right now on her patio with a glass of wine and her adorable dogs. Go and make this and pretend that you are with us! Thanks for the recipe, J!