Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Dessert Debacle

Okay, I have talked about it, complained about it, raved about it...time to give you the down and dirty on the Blueberry Pavlova incident.

First, this recipe came from Cosmo July 2011, and it is important you know that it is from Gwenyth Paltrow's new cookbook.  She is known as a bit of a pretenious snob, so of course this recipe is complicated and fancy.  I should have realized that before I have it a try, but I didn't think about it.

For reference, the ingredients are:
4 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1 and 1/2 cup blueberries

I had eggs at home that I needed to use, which is what sparked my interested in this recipe (as well as a love for blueberries).  In a few days you will see me most likely make deviled eggs to use up the rest of those eggs!

So, this recipe began by heating the oven to 350*.  Not a problem.  I had that completely under control. You then combine the egg whites, vinegar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer  (or use a hand beater) until soft peaks form.

Behold, problem #1:
SHIT I dropped the yolk in.  I am normally pro at separating egg whites, so maybe that was a sign to stop. I dumped out the yolk to start again, and then I got egg shells in the mix! Also, note the only mixing bowl was in the dishwasher as a past salmon repository, and I had to use a stovetop pan (yes, I know, not good for nonstick).

I finally got the ingredients in, and started mixing it on high.  I have always wondered the proper amount of time to beat egg whites to get them "until soft peaks form."  I beat it for awhile and there were some bubbles.  I decided to go a little longer, and it got foamy. Hmm...I decided to go even longer and all of a sudden it morphed into this fluffly, foamy, amazing bowl of clouds.  If you think you are there, beat it longer.  You will know when the egg whites are ready.  It is AMAZING that an egg white can turn into something like that.

Then, you combine the 3/4 cups of sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl, and add to the egg whites in thirds, whisking in each addition completely.
Next problem? I was certain I had cornstarch at home.  Well, I already have these crazy fluffy egg whites and cornstarch was no where to be found.  I pondered other options, and yes, I did realize that cornstarch was likely a very important ingredient.  However, I decided to forge ahead anyway (don't do that).

After that, add the vanilla until stiff peaks form - no problemo.

Next problem? Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and put the meringue on it in 8 big spoonfuls.  Oh...parchment paper...which I DO NOT HAVE.  Stop here and learn from my mistakes.  Greasing a pan is not the same as parchment paper.  To make it worse, I had to use a pizza pan because I couldn't find a normal baking pan.  I should have learned the importance of parchment paper the first time I made that mistake -- the coconut macaroon incident of finals week (an entire two trays of macaroons in the garbage.  Tragic).

Important note: This "meringue" TASTES PHENOMENAL! Try not to eat it all from the spoon, as you put it onto the parchment paper.  It tastes like whipped, sweetened air.  Like taffy without the chewing and like clouds if they were edible.  Yum.

I tried to place them on the baking sheet, and the stuff was getting everywhere.
Then, you bake for 10 minutes, lower the heat to 200 degrees, and bake for an hour.

Here was an oh shit moment -- I need to read the entire recipe before making things, apparently.  It was already 9:30 and this stuff has to bake for a LONG time!  There were no other options, so in the oven it went.

During this time, while it was cooking, I kept reaching in and breaking off pieces to eat.  By the time it was done, it looked like this:

They look like biscuits, but they aren't.  They are crisp little flakes competely stuck to the pan. However, as you can see, I had already managed to eat two by the time they came out of the oven.

After they are done cooking, you are supposed to turn off the heat, and let them cool in the oven for an hour, propping it open with a wooden spoon.  Of course I have no wooden spoon, so I just left the door open and went to bed.  It was delightful waking up to the (ruined) desserts, because they are still completely tasty!

As for the sauce, you whip the cream with the remaining sugar.  In a small bowl, crush 1/2 cup of the blueberries with a potato masher or spoon to release their juice.  Fold these blueberries in, and use them for the meringues.  It doesn't look tasty.
But, it transformed me into a cat. I literally started scooping out creamed blueberries with my hands, making a little bowl with my fingers.  Imagine blueberries and cream, but better.  I actually started to drink OUT OF the bowl.  This stuff in AMAZING. So amazing, I even cried over spilt milk (haha).

So the point of this post...this recipe was a trainwreck from the start and it still turned into one of the best things I have ever ate.  I don't know what you should do about it.  Make it for yourself and see what happens? Learn from my mistakes?  Your best bet is probably not to make it at all -- I can't stop eating it and the sugar is hurting my stomach!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD!!! I have never laughed so hard!