Pavlova HH

Pavlova is a famous meringue-based dessert, named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. It was created in honour of her performance of the Dying Swan in Swan Lake which she danced while touring Australia, and the dessert is now considered to be traditionally Australian.

Pavlova should be crisp on the outside, but soft and creamy in the centre. Fresh, exotic fruits such as passion fruit, pineapples and Chinese gooseberries go beautifully with the soft meringue, but any fresh or canned fruit may be used, according to choice.

5 egg whites

10 oz. plus

1 tablespoon castor sugar

2 teaspoons cornflour , sifted

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon malt vinegar

1 teaspoon orange-flavoured liqueur 10 fl. oz. double cream , stiffly whipped 1 lb. fresh or canned and drained fruit

Preheat the oven to cool 300°F (Gas Mark 2, 150°C). With a pencil draw a 9-inch circle (use a plate as a guide) on a piece of non-stick silicone paper and place this on a baking sheet. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk or rotary beater until they form stiff peaks. Beat in 4 ounces of the sugar and continue beating for 1 minute or until the mixture is very stiff and glossy. Using a metal spoon, fold in all but 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar, the cornflour , vanilla essence and vinegar.

Spoon one-third of the mixture on to the circle of paper to make a base about J-inch thick. Fill a forcing bag, fitted with a 1-inch nozzle, with the remaining mix-ture and pipe it round the edge of the circle in decorative swirls, to form a case to hold the filling.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for

1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the meringue in the oven for a further

30 minutes, or until it is crisp on the outside but still soft in the centre.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Leave the meringue to cool completely. When it is cold, lift it off the baking sheet and carefully remove and discard the paper from the bottom.

Place the meringue case on a serving plate. Fold the orange-flavoured liqueur and the remaining tablespoon of sugar into the cream. Spoon the cream into the centre of the meringue case and pile the fruit on top of the cream. Serve at once.

Paysanne, a la

A la paysanne (ah lah pay-zahn), literally peasant-style in French, is a cooking term applied to meat and poultry braised with buttered vegetables and bacon. The vegetables, which usually include carrots, turnips, onions and celery, and bacon are served as a garnish to the finished dish.