Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Challenge Book #18 - Ginger Lemon Eton Mess

I have a confession to make. You know I am Australian and all, right. Well....I am afraid that I......cannot make pavlova to save my life. There I said. I'm a national disgrace. If you never hear from me again I have been bundled onto the nearest means of transport and shipped to parts unknown.

Pavlova is Australia's national desert (mitts off Kiwis ;-}). My aunts seem to churn them out effortlessly. There is a pavlova at any family occasion. Me, not so much. But not for lack of trying.

I've tried everything. Recipes from all the tried and tested Australian cooks - Margaret Fulton, Stephanie Alexander, Women's Weekly. Every tip and trick and bit of advice has been put into practice. And I've come up with nothing. They always seem to spread out so they are very thin and pancake like. Most often they are tough and sticky and plain awful.

I'm not giving up though. I will crack this eventually.

In my latest attempt I turned to an overseas chef - Jamie Oliver to be precise. Cook with Jamie has a coconut, banana and passionfruit pavolova that looks simply mouthwatering. I had to have a go.

But at the last moment I swerved off in a different direction. In discussing meringue's Jamie talks about the different flavours that can be added. I was seized by the idea of making a ginger and lemon pavlova. Served with strawberries I thought it would be absolutely delicious.

So I dived in. And well, as you can see above, I got the usual result. A flat pancake of a pavlova. At least it was marshmallowy on the inside and only slightly sticky. That's an improvement, believe it or not.

The thing is, it tasted FANTASTIC!! The heat of ginger with a tang of lemon all wrapped up in sweet cripsy and marshmallowy meringue. YUM!!

So what do you do when life gives you a deliciously sorry excuse for a pav? You make a mess that's what. An Eton mess. A gorgeous concoction of broken up meringue, cream and strawberries. It's all served in a bowl. So what the meringue looks like is no never mind.

I served it to some friends for lunch. It was a smash hit!!!! Not only the taste, but it was a bit of a novelty. We Australians are conservative with our pavlovas. The meringue is always vanilla and its always served with whipped cream and some combination of banana, kiwifruit, strawberries and passionfruit.

I didn't measure the ginger and lemon additions to my pav that closely. I've included approximations in the recipe. I actually used crystallised ginger, but I think its sugar coating may have contributed to my sad result. So I have suggested using stem ginger. I would be reluctant to add too much more lemon juice, but I think the zest and ginger can be increased or decreased as you like.

Cook with Jamie is Challenge Book #18 in the KJ Wants a Kitchen Aid Challenge. This is where I have to make a recipe from every cookbook I own before I can buy a new one.

Ginger and Lemon Eton Mess
(adapted from Cook with Jamie)

6 large egg whites
300gm castor sugar
zest 2 lemons
1 tbspn lemon juice
2 tbspn stem ginger, finely chopped
2 tspn ground ginger
whipped cream
strawberries, sliced

Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar. Beat until the sugar is fully dissolved into the egg whites. Rub the mix between two fingers. It should be completely smooth. If you can feel any grains keep beating. It may take 7-10 minutes.

Gently fold in the ginger, lemon zest and juice.

Heap the mixture into a mound on a lined baking tray. Bake in a 150C oven for about an hour. The meringue should be crisp on the outside and marshmallowy on the inside.

Let the meringue cool completly. Break it up into small pieces. Divide into bowls. Top generously with whipped cream and strawberries.


At 12:04 am, Blogger Patricia Scarpin said...

Did you make me curious about this combo of flavors or what, KJ? :)
It looks and sounds heavenly.
I saw an episode of "Jamie at home" last Saturday in which he makes a meringue and tops it with tinned pears, a chocolate-ginger sauce and hazelnuts. I was drying to try it!
But his meringue had a rectangular shape and it was flat like yours. So I don't think there's anything wrong here, sweetie.

At 8:42 am, Blogger grace said...

i love what you've named this glorious concoction! it's a lovely, yummy mess, and i would skip right past a pavlova for a hearty helping of this!

At 1:26 am, Blogger Deborah said...

I've never had eton mess before, but there is a recipe in one of my cookbooks that keeps catching my eye. This sounds delicious!

At 10:19 am, Blogger Brilynn said...

I've never had luck with anything meringue based! I tend to stick to egg yolk things like ice cream... mmmm ice cream... I would love to make cute little meringue cups to hold my ice cream but I have yet to accomplish this.

At 1:54 pm, Blogger giz said...

So now all the Pavlova failures are coming out of the closet - count me in the group. I generally get similar results as you do and I really think it has something to do with the beating of it. People that "get it" say "it's the easiest thing in the world" and then I just feel like taking my fist and know.

At 10:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Came from DB's kitchen, yummy blog and great pics you have here :)

At 2:16 pm, Blogger Cynthia said...

You'd be amazed at how many of us there are out here that cannot make our national dishes :)

At 6:05 am, Blogger Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I have never tried making a pavolva so have no helpful hints or tricks for you. I am of British descent and cannot make Yorkshire Pudding so go figure:D

At 8:24 pm, Blogger KJ said...

Hi Patricia, thanks. I saw that too. And I too would love to try it.

Hi Grace, I agree it well named.

Hi Deborah, it's a lovely dish. I hope you try it one day.

Hi Brilynn, I've never thought of it that way, but yeah. I am an egg yolk person too. I can do great things with egg yolks. Maybe it's genetic.

Hi Giz, oh yes I know. I'm glad I am not alone.

Hi Zita, thanks for visiting.

Hi Cynthia, I'm glad to know that I am not alone.

Hi Val, it's frustrating when you feel like you should be good at something.

Hi Giz

Hi Zita

Hi Cynthia

Hi Val

At 10:15 pm, Blogger Veron said...

strawberries and cream ...hmmn...This looks fantastic! Alice Medrich made a similar in class last was delicious so I can just imagine how this taste....delicious!!!

At 12:02 am, Blogger Lyra said...

I love the ginger, lemon, strawberry combination here. And there is nothing better then the crumbly and crunchy and soft taste of mereingue. I am sure this is fantastic, I may have to try it soon. I have yet to attempt a pavlova, but they do seem like the perfect summer dessert. We have lots of blueberries, strawberries and peaches around right now in DC and I think that if I can pull it off, pavlova would be great. I do my egg whites with a hand held egg beater, which has worked for me so far. (fingers crossed)

At 12:03 am, Blogger Lyra said...

By the way, I just noticed that your recipe says "six egg yolks" when you meant six egg whites. Might want to change that one, or some new cooks will be disappointed in their mereingue for sure!

At 9:14 pm, Blogger KJ said...

Thanks Lyra!!! Problem sorted. I hate making silly mistakes like this. If only I wasn't so human!!

At 2:08 am, Blogger Alicia Foodycat said...

Nigella's chocolate raspberry pavlova is the only one that ever works for me - aside from the old Pavlova Magic. The genius of pavlova magic is why the pavlova is ours, not New Zealand's.

At 12:44 am, Blogger Meeta K. Wolff said...

such a fantastic take on this dessert! brilliant!


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to A Cracking Good Egg by Email
Australian Food Bloggers Ring
list >> random >> join
Site Ring from Bravenet