Friday, January 28, 2011


I've been glued to the TV watching the Australian Open for the last week. I was hoping for a Federer/Nadal showdown because I don't ever get tired of seeing them battle it out on the courts. However, like my friend Dimitris said, it was becoming kind of a status quo so it'll be exciting to see the Murray/Djokovic match. I won't be up to watch the men's or women's final (GO CHINA!) at 3am but I'll be able to catch it when I wake up thanks to the wonderful existence of DVR.

In the meantime, I'm making pavlova to celebrate the finals weekend. Pavlova originated in Australia (or New Zealand depending on who you ask) and I've never actually eaten it before even though I studied abroad in Sydney for half a year. I've had my fair share of Tim Tams and meat pies but I never heard nor seen this popular dessert.

Pavlova is essentially a meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit. It is an easy and fast dessert to make and it requires only a few ingredients. The only time factor is the hour it takes to bake in the oven and the hour it needs to cool down. Pavlovas are the perfect vessel to showcase seasonal fruit. However, we've had heaps and heaps of snow lately so I wanted something more comforting. I'll save the berries for the summer when I should be eating lighter desserts and indulge a bit now!

I was inspired to by one of my favorite blogs, Une-Deux Senses, to top my pavlova with bananas foster. I combined it with homemade whipped cream, which helped cut the sweetness of the bananas and meringue. As you can see from the picture above, the crispy exterior and marshmallowy center make for wonderfully textured filled bites. I now I'll be torn from wanting to devour the whole pavlova with trying to focus on the final but I have a feeling that the pavlova will easily win this match.


For the pavlova:

adapted from Une-Deux Senses

3 egg whites

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 tsp. vinegar

1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 250 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar, 1 tbsn. at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until the mixture is smooth to the touch and their is no graininess. Fold in the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla. Pour mixture onto your prepared baking sheet and form into a round (of four mini ones, if you want), creating a shallow depression in the center of each. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the pavlova is cream colored and the surface is dry and crisp. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar. Allow the pavlovas to cool in the oven until they can be handled.

For the whipped cream: adapted from All Recipes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp sugar

In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like.

For the bananas foster:
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp rum
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 bananas, sliced

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Once it starts bubbling, add the brown sugar, rum, vanilla and cinnamon. When the mixture is combined well and the brown sugar has dissolved, place the bananas in the skillet. Cook for 2-4 minutes.