Sunday, May 06, 2007

Almond Pavlova with the Season's First Cherries

Nutty, Brown-sugar Meringue, Whipped Cream, Juicy Fruit and Caramelised Nuts

picture photograph of how to make recipe for almond and cherry pavlova 2007 copyright of sam breach http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/

Before all the Pavlova purists out there jump down my throat because my meringue is not white, I know. OK. Now I've got that out of the way, and you've calmed down, I'll continue with my story. Some of you may have read last week that I am worried about my good, childhood friend Sheena who has just found out she has cancer. She had a scan at the end of last week and she is nervously waiting the results. I have been thinking about Sheena a lot over the last six days. I have so many good memories that she is a part of. My life is richer because of her place in it.

As I teen, I was part of a girly gang of five. Collectively, our favourite dessert was undoubtedly Pavlova. Either we or one of our mothers would make it one way or another and there would never be any leftovers. My own mother always made it from a recipe in a Marks & Spencer Dessert Cookbook we owned, usually topping it with whipped fresh double cream and kiwi fruit. I would make the same recipe favouring raspberries and bananas. Sometimes we would even cheat and buy the pre-made meringue nests that are available at every British Supermarket. [Marks & Spencer's fancier version, if they still stock it, is irresistable.] Sheena's mum always used Nestle's tinned cream and halved green grapes on her Pavlovas. I am not sure if it is my imagination, or reality, but something makes me she think she used brown sugar too.

Salad Days, Pavlova Days, all rolled into one. The more I thought about our teenage adventures, the more I had to make a Pavlova this weekend. The fact that I saw cherries at the market for the first time this year spurred me into dessert-making action and because Sheena and I had a mutual adoration of marzipan that no one else seemed to share at the time, I decided to pair those plump, dark red spheres of red juciness with their match made in heaven, almonds.

Almond Cherry Pavlovas
Serves four

2 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup Bakers[US] or Castor[UK] sugar
1/4 cup Soft, Light Brown Sugar
1/8 cup Ground Almonds
1/2 teaspoon Distilled White Vinegar

1/2 pint of whipping or double cream
2 cups fresh cherries, stoned

1/2 cup flaked almonds
1 heaped tablespoon Bakers[US] or Castor[UK] sugar

Method:

- Preheat theoven to 250F
- Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks
- Slowly beat in the 1/2 cup brown/white sugar until the meringue is thick & glossy
- Gently fold in the ground almonds and the vinegar
- Spoon the meringue onto a silpat-lined baking sheet, forming four nest-like circles
- Pop the meringues into the oven for 35 minutes
- Turn the oven off, leaving the meringues there for at least 1.5 hours or overnight

Before Serving:

- Whip the cream until it thickens to the consistency of a soft, pillowy cloud*
- Put the flaked almonds and 1 heaped tablespoon sugar into a small skillet
- Heat to medium whilst stirring constantly
- After a few minutes the sugar will start to caramelise
- Keep stirring to coat the nuts
- Once all the nuts are sticky and golden, remove from the heat to cool and crisp

- To serve, assemble meringue, then cream, cherries and finally almonds

* Note: I do not like to Chantilly-ise my whipping cream. I don't think whipped cream needs the addition of sugar in most desserts. I like whipped cream to be a cool creamy, contrast to the other sweeter elements.

There are hundreds of possible ways to assemble a Pavlova. It's a pretty easy-going dessert. What's going to top yours?



PS Honey-colour-tanned meringue is just as good for the soul as white.


Local Resources
Eggs from Marin Sun Farm
Cherries from Hamada Farms
Organic Whipping Cream from Clover
Almonds from Alfieri


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Almond Pavlova with the Season's First Cherries

27 Comments:

  • At 6/5/07 19:19, Blogger Squishy said…

    Fantabulous MMMMMMMmmmmm

     
  • At 6/5/07 20:20, Anonymous Nina said…

    Honey-colored meringues have more flavor than snowy white ones.... I'm all for it.

    Looks fantastic!

     
  • At 6/5/07 20:50, Blogger Dagny said…

    That looks beautiful but I'm holding off until June or so for the Ranier cherries.

     
  • At 6/5/07 21:23, Blogger mrbunsrocks said…

    I love this. I just recently discovered the joys of Pavlova (it not being terribly popular in Canada) and it's so lovely.

    The cherries look delectable....can't wait to have some fresh local produce to show off like this. Thanks so much for sharing your woooooooonderful dessert! :)

    - definitelynotmartha

     
  • At 6/5/07 21:39, Anonymous Sheri said…

    Wow. So lovely. In fact, my four-year old just sat down next to me, saw that picture, and said, "Mmmm, that looks yummy." I've declared it the "yum yum of the week."

     
  • At 6/5/07 22:11, Blogger Alice said…

    Sam,

    If you have any cancer-related questions, I'm here. It's what I got my degree in from grad school...

    The cherries look lovely, btw...

     
  • At 6/5/07 22:13, Anonymous sabrina said…

    this looks fantastic! i'm not the biggest meringue fan, but I really want to try it with brown sugar. i'd give it a go now, but i somehow managed to select perfect cherries at the market, pay for them, and only to arrive home and discover, wah? no cherries!

     
  • At 6/5/07 23:28, Blogger Astrid said…

    I've never had a pavlova but would love to try one of these.
    The photo is beautiful.

     
  • At 7/5/07 00:13, Anonymous enidd said…

    yumscalot! enidd would like to try that with a dark chocolate meringue - cherries and dark chocolate go so well.

     
  • At 7/5/07 00:48, Anonymous Foodie Froggy said…

    This recipe is absolutely splendid !!

     
  • At 7/5/07 01:28, Blogger ChrisB said…

    sam you and beccy make the best pavlovas and I can vouch for the 'honey coloured' meringue it's VERY GOOD.

     
  • At 7/5/07 01:29, Blogger Julia said…

    Oh Sam, I'm drooling. They look absolutely fabulous.

    I'm sorry to hear about your friend, wishing her all the very best.

     
  • At 7/5/07 02:24, Blogger Bron said…

    As you know Sam, I live in THE land of pavlova and I have never, note NEVER heard that they have to be white! All good crunchy on the outside, marshmallowy on the inside pavlovas are the perfect shade of "honey"!! Yours look and sound divine!!!

     
  • At 7/5/07 05:51, Blogger Figs, Olives, Wine said…

    Sam,
    I think we had that same Marks & Sparks Dessert Cookbook when I was small! I'd forgotten all about it. In the winter we topped our pavlovas with orange slices (pretty messy), and in the summer we used strawberries or raspberries.
    I have my fingers crossed for good news with your friend back home
    Best,
    Amanda

     
  • At 7/5/07 06:36, Anonymous Lisa said…

    I hope everything turns out well with Sheena.

    I've never made a Pavlova, but this may tempt me!

     
  • At 7/5/07 07:58, Blogger Sarah said…

    Lovely. Pavlova is one of my favourites, simple and versatile. I always tend to use unrefined golden caster sugar but the brown sugar works for me. The oracle that is Delia Smith does a recipe where she caramelises the sugar, leaves it to harden and then crushes it before adding to the whipped egg whites.

     
  • At 7/5/07 12:13, Blogger Beccy said…

    Those cherries look delicious Sam, and I always thought pavlovas were meant to be brownish due to the vinegar.

     
  • At 7/5/07 13:39, Anonymous Sophie said…

    My Mum makes legendary pavlovas and she uses black cherries too so I'm happy to stick with yours as the winning combo!

     
  • At 7/5/07 13:39, Blogger Chubbypanda said…

    Never made them, but I just bought a crate of the sweetest mangos, so those would definitely make it on top.

     
  • At 7/5/07 18:35, Blogger Mercedes said…

    This looks delicious! I think meringues can be all shades, even cocoa. I'm thinking a green tinged pistachio meringue would be great as well.

     
  • At 8/5/07 02:08, Blogger Kate said…

    i dont believe i missed seeing your blog all this time.There look so delicious and the photography is gr8 too .

     
  • At 8/5/07 20:14, Anonymous Lucky said…

    That recipe and your photo are SO inspiring! If it weren't 10PM and I had to work in the AM, I'd be en route to the market for some fresh berries. Thank you for sharing something so wonderful AND the special history behind it.

     
  • At 9/5/07 06:36, Blogger Carla said…

    Mmm...it's been ages since I've made Pavlova. I think I will make it again soon, we have lovely strawberries in season right now.

     
  • At 10/5/07 02:13, Blogger Barbara said…

    White ? Really. I did not know that! Mine are always a little tanned . It looks delish Sam.

     
  • At 10/5/07 03:27, Blogger Deborah Dowd said…

    These look delicious- a light and airy end of a meal! Pavlovas are popping up all over the blogosphere, but yours are the only one with a tan!

     
  • At 10/5/07 12:00, Blogger Jeanne said…

    Oh Sam, how awful for your friend. My sister-in-law's sister at whose house I have spent many Christmases and happy seaside holidays was diagnosed with breast cancer about 3 weeks ago. She has had one breast removed and they are still debating whether to give her a course of chemo. Although she is a bit older than us, it still is so terrifying when cancer strikes at your generation. I hope Sheena is OK.

    And as for your pavlova - I always thought the difference between M&S and homemade meringue was in fact that the homemade ones *weren't* quite white! Although yours is particularly delectably cafe au lait ;-) My mom only ever topped hers with strawberries which remain my favourite, but a friend's mom more recently topped hers with unsweetened whipped cream, fresh mango chunks and a sprinkling of dark brown sugar. Mmmmm.

     
  • At 12/5/07 13:24, Anonymous Jennifer Jeffrey said…

    What a darling story, Sam. It is so cute to think of you "pack of five" eating Pavlovas together... so very sophisticated! You were a gourmet way back when.

     

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