One thing I have learned living in Europe the past 5 (coming up to 6!) years is, when Kiwis are in short supply, Australians make very natural friends, effort isnt really required, we can slip into easy comfort with each other very quickly thanks to a very similar childhood and background. My jokes dont offend Australians, it’s normal to take the mick out of each other on the other side of the world…none of those awkward silences followed by me trying to explain the concept of friendly mocking to a shocked French or Dutch person I just met…
And so, to this appreciative end, i’m quite happy to share this dish with our Tasman neighbours. Hell, they can share glory on the Flat White and Russell Crowe with us too.
In fact, they can just have Russell.
My Mum is great, each time I visit she hunts down a leg of New Zealand lamb and makes me a full Roast dinner, complete with home made mint sauce. And of course, for dessert, a pavlova, which I always take great pleasure in decorating.
Before now I had never really made an effort to make pavlovas myself - they were always a special occasion dessert in our house, birthdays, anniversarys, christmas always saw pav’. Plus my mums pav is always the best, so why try to compete?
However, after my very first trip to a Mall in France this weekend, for the sole purpose to visit the Marks and Spencer Foodhall that my friends English flatmates told me about, I suddenly found myself in possession of a large quantity of cream that… wait for it…. can ACTUALLY BE WHIPPED! And when I say can be whipped, I mean in 3 minutes like normal cream, not 40 minutes and one broken electric beater later like pathetic french cream.
And what to do with the cream? Such unprecedented quantities of whipped cream I hadn’t experienced since my university days in Delft…
Ginger, Lime and Mint Pomegranate Pavlova
4 small teaspoons of corn flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar (malt will also work)
225 grams caster sugar (the finest sugar you can find, but not icing sugar)
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 150 deg C (302 F)
Beat eggwhites with an electric mixer until a little bit foamy, then start gradually adding the sugar. Beat until all grains of sugar have dissolved. (Test this by feeling the eggwhites between your fingers)
Add the cornflour and beat well.
Add the vinegar and vanilla essence. Mix to combine (ie: dont over mix)
To a baking paper lined oven tray, make 4 piles of pavlova mixture. Dont push down the mixture, just keep piled high as it falls. Pavlovas shouldn’t be perfectly shaped (thank god), thick rustic charm like a French fruit galette.
Put into the oven for around 45 minutes. You are aiming for crisp meringue ouside and soft soufflé inside - a trick combo!
When done, turn off the oven and let it cool inside.
For the cream:
1 pomegranite, with the seeds extracted. I use this technique.
1 cm cube piece of fresh ginger
2 tsp grated lime zest
Around 20 fresh mint leaves
250 mls cream, whipped (NB 250 ml is pre-whipping)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Put the ginger into a garlic press (making sure its well cleaned first!) and squeeze the liquid of the ginger into the whipped cream. Add 1 tsp of lime rind, and mix to combine.
Divide the cream between the 4 cooled pavlovas, just pouring casually on top.
Add pomegranites, the remaining lime zest and the mint leaves (chopped if too large) on top of the cream.