Berry Picking Boots
While on holiday, we had lunch at my sister’s in-laws’ house, and her MIL made a yummy berry Pavlova. I was my first! After my first bite, I was making plans to make one with the raspberries that would soon be ready at home. It was something I always wanted to make, but it hide in the back of my head when the opportunities arose. It is the perfect summer dessert, light, delicate, fruity and refreshing. Lemon Meringue Pie was my first perfected dessert in my college days, but due to my computer crash in 2006 (lost my recipe files) I haven’t since made a meringue dessert. My first mission would be to start searching for the perfect meringue recipe. (I could have just asked for the recipe at my sister’s MIL, but I think my sister once did and was answered with “Oh, you want a pavlova? I’ll make you one.”)
Ingredients: 4 egg whites, 1 c. sugar, 1-2 Tbsp. Rice Flour, 1 tsp. white vinegar
I remembered my how-to for meringue, just not the exact measurements and baking needs. I found one that looked right instruction wise, but had some other added ingredients. Nevertheless, I made that one. Before starting the meringue, I lined a baking tray with wax paper and trace an eight inch circle on the middle, to use as a guide. I preheated the oven to 250°F. I brought 4 egg whites to room temperature before I began to beat them with my electric mixer. I slowly added the sugar, one Tbs. at a time and continued to beat until stiff peaks formed. Then I folded in the rice flour (the original recipe called for corn starch) and vinegar and then piled the mixture on top of the wax paper. I made a well in the middle (and reminisced of my mashed potato sculpting days…) and smoothed the edges. I baked the meringue on the center rack of the oven for 1 hr 15 minutes, until it was hard to the touch and had a hint of gold. I turned off the oven and left the door ajar until the meringue was completely cool.
2 c. heavy cream, splash of vanilla (or almond) extract, 2 Tbs. confectioner’s sugar.
Start with a chilled metal or glass bowl and chilled metal beaters (I just didn’t have time, this time). Lightly whip cream until small peaks appear, add sugar and vanilla. Do not over beat or cream will become too thick and butter-like.
Fresh Picked Raspberries
Pumpkin woke up as soon as Hubster left for work today, and I decided to get a start on raspberry picking. The second summer in our house, we discovered that in the woods behind us, there is a huge patch of overgrown red raspberry bushes. Usually we gather a couple handfuls to throw on our cereal, and then Pumpkin gets tired and we leave the berries for the birds. This year, we stuck on our boots and went out picking. We each carried a large cup, since it’s easier to manage than a bucket and would empty them into a bowl once they were full. I filled 4 cups and Pumpkin filled 1 1/2 cups and his belly. Resulting with an overflowing bowl. There are still a few days of good picking on the bushes. If I can get out there (get my son out there with me, that is), I wonder what else I’ll be able to make.
Bowl of Berries
Assembling My Pretty Pavlova
I waited until it was time to serve before assembling. I placed the meringue on a plate and filled the well with the fresh whipped cream, spreading it up to the edges. Then, I covered the top with the fresh raspberries and presented my pavlova to my family. Yum!
What to do with 4 Egg Yolks?
I hate wasting egg yolks when I only need the egg whites, so I started to brain storm uses. I didn’t want to make mayonnaise, sauce, custard, or another dessert… (although next time I make a dinner with a hollandaise sauce, I’ll make a Pavlova for dessert). So I decided to pamper myself. I gave my hair an egg yolk conditioning treatment for my hair (after shampooing and wringing out extra water): I mixed two egg yolks with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil (I used EVOO, because that’s what I have on hand) and 1/4 c. warm water. Then I poured it over my scalp and hair (avoiding my face), coating thoroughly and let to set. I gave myself a facial: I blended the two remaining egg yolks with a tsp. of honey and lightly applied to my (freshly washed) face, neck, shoulders, elbows and knees and allowed to dry. Twenty-five minutes later, I hopped in the shower to rinse my hair and my face clean from my egg goo.