Rosewater Pavlova with Local Strawberries
Since gorgeous local strawberries have started to appear at the farmers markets, it's finally starting to seems like summer.
I whipped up this pavlova to serve with a bottle of my favorite local bubbly to celebrate.
"The Pavlovas traditional combination of crunchy meringue exterior, soft creamy inside, and fresh fruit is a natural pairing with traditional Moscato d’Asti, a crisp refreshing wine from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. Let's stay closer to home and pair this spectacular dessert with a bottle of the newly released 2012 Benjamin Bridge Nova 7. Produced with a touch of effervescence and in the light off-dry style that Nova Scotian's have fallen in love with, Nova 7 is a popular choice as a summer patio sipper or brunch companion but its’ lower alcohol content and crisp refreshing personality make it ideal to serve with lighter dessert dishes which can often be tricky to match with wine.
Showing a light salmon colour that visually compliments the Pavlovas strawberry fruit, the 2012 Nova 7 offers aromas of apricot, peach, and lemon/lime followed by flavours of ripe tropical fruit, and citrus zest. The addition of rosewater in the recipe brings forward similar notes in the wine and really ties the pairing together. The balance of the wine’s sweetness and acidity, which Nova 7 is noted for, beautifully compliments the Pavlovas marriage of meringue and marshmallow-like filling.
Nova 7 needs to be served well-chilled to
bring out the crispness and refreshing character of the wine." Chris Makin (resident wine geek)
For the meringues, you will need 5 large egg whites (at room temperature), 1 cup of superfine sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of rosewater, and a pinch of cream of tartar. Make sure your bowl and beaters are meticulously clean and grease free, and that there is not a trace of yolk in your whites. Otherwise your meringue just won't whip up properly. Beat the whites and the cream of tartar at high speed until soft peaks form, then begin to add your sugar a couple of tablespoons full at a time. Continue to beat until your whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks. Sprinkle the rose water over the mixture and gently fold into the meringue to combine.
To form the meringues, you can either use a piping bag to create neat little circles, or you can just use the back of your spoon to form looser circles, your call. Pipe or spoon your egg whites on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 275 F for about an hour. Then turn off the oven, crack the door, and let the pavlovas cool slowly.
To prepare the strawberries; wash, remove stems, and slice or quarter into bite sized morsels. In a small bowl, combine the berries with a splash of orange juice and a sprinkle of sugar, let the mixture rest while you whip the cream.
For best results when whipping heavy cream, chill the bowl and beaters in the freezer for a few minutes before you start. Make sure the cream is really cold too. Since the meringues are so sweet, I only added about a tablespoon of superfine sugar to 1/2 cup of heavy cream to help stabilize it.
To assemble; start with the biggest meringue circle as your base. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream, then a layer of you macerated berries. Next another meringue, and so on. I feel strongly that a 'proper' pavlova has more than on layer of meringue. The ratio of meringue to fruit is off otherwise. And, a pavlova is meant to resemble a ballerinas tutu. You need some layers for the tutu effect, so here I'm going for three, and even if I do say so myself, it was perfect.