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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Strawberry Skor Pavlova


I know what you are thinking. Nothing says the harvest, fall and Canadian Thanksgiving like a berry pavlova!
Whatever. You eat your pumpkin pie and leave me to my meringue for the love of god.



Okay, I actually LOVE pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin creme brulee and every other, more traditional, thanksgiving type dessert. I did make an apple pecan upside down cake  too but I just really love pavlova and although I flirted with the idea of incorporating some pumpkin into it, I couldn't get the skor bar thing out of my mind and I wanted to keep it tasty but simple. There is enough work going on when you are making a big turkey dinner and two desserts and I love that you can make the meringue a day or two in advance and just throw it all together right before dinner.  As it happens, the MVP (most valuable Peruvians) family came for dinner and they devoured the pavlova in record time while the more white bread branch of the family (Shack and MIL specifically) skipped the pavlova and ate seconds of the apple cake so it was a good mix. I am sure there is a scientific study on cultural dessert preferences in there somewhere.


Anyway, nothing comes together as easily as a pavlova and you really get a ton of bang for your buck because it looks impressive, most people aren't familiar with it so it is exotic and it's crazy sweet and delicious. I made this one for easter last year and, just like last year, I didn't get a proper shot of the finished pavlova because everyone descended on it like a pack of rabid weasels before I could even get my camera out so, again, you will have to make do with an iphone photo.

This recipe should be good for approximately 8 people OR four really hungry Peruvians with a sweet tooth.


Strawberry Skor Pavlova

Berries:
1 lb strawberries (set aside a few for garnish)
2 tbls chambord
1/4 cup sugar

Whipped Cream:
1 to 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tbls chambord
scant 1/4 cup sugar

Meringue:
6 large egg whites, room temp
pinch cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups super fine sugar (I whiz granulated sugar in my bullet first and then measure)
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp white wine vinegar (i used white balsamic)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

garnish: dulce de leche or any other caramel type sauce you have on hand and like and a chunk of dark chocolate to shave



Preheat the oven to 250F
draw an big circle on a piece of parchment paper (approx 9 or 10"). Turn the parchment over so the side with the marking is on the underside.

Before I do any kind of meringue, I wipe my bowl and my beater with white vinegar and then rinse and dry well just to make sure there is no grease on anything because I have had whites not whip to stiff peaks and I will be forever paranoid. You do what you have to do.

Beat the whites with cream of tartar still soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar, 1 tbls at at time on medium high speed. When the sugar is all added in , throw in the cornstarch and salt and beat until stiff peaks form. Turn off the mixer and fold in the vanilla and vinegar.

Mound the meringue onto the parchment and start spreading it out , trying to maintain the circle shape you drew on the underside of the parchment. Bake it for 1 1/2 hrs, turn off the heat at that point and leave it to sit in the oven for another 2 hours, until it's completely cooled to room temperature.

To assemble:


Whip your cream, chambord and 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.
Take your skor bars out of the freezer and crush them up roughly.

Lay the meringue disk onto your serving plate. Using a spatula, spread the whipped cream on top of the meringue. Spoon the strawberries evenly over the whipped cream. Now, sprinkle the crunched up skor bars .

Next, I used dulce de leche from a jar that I really like so I did the same - I heated it up a bit in the microwave to thin it out, spooned it into a little ziplock, snipped the end and then I drizzled that over top of the whole thing. Or, if it's thin enough you can just dribble it and whip the spoon back and forth and drizzle it straight from the spoon - this method is easier but messier.

The final step is to take a chunk of good, dark chocolate and a potato peeler and peel off some chocolate curls all over the top of the pavlova.

Now, artfully  arrange the whole strawberries you had reserved