Posts Tagged 'history'

FALSE ADVERTISING: Blueberry Lemon Almond Pavzilla

pavlova 7

Pavlova. Pavlooooooova. Named for Anna Pavlova, the famed Russian ballet dancer, after her tour to New Zealand in the 1920s. I learned this from Wikipedia.

The world’s largest pavlova, named ‘Pavkong,’ was made by some New Zealand students in 2005. Prior to this, the record for the largest pavlova was held by New Zealand’s national museum. It was named ‘Pavzilla.’

pavlova 1

I didn’t go for the world record of largest pavlova (the most original names had already been taken), but I did create a mini version in addition to a regular-sized one to show you the technique of filling the meringue. And by “technique,” I mean “plopping some instant pudding and blueberries on top of a cookie.”

Sounds simple (it is), but the end result is a beautifully rustic dessert, that ends ups being really light. The fillings and flavors are endless. If you wanted something lighter, you could go with whipped cream and fresh fruit as a filling, which is a bit more classic.

pavlova 2

pavlova 3

This dessert is a celebration of eggs, clearly. They are the main ingredient, and with that yellow pudding thrown on top, it looks just like a deviled egg. Luckily, it doesn’t taste like a deviled egg. I mean, deviled eggs are scrumptious, don’t get me wrong; it’s just that if you tell someone, “Hey, try this blueberry lemon almond pavlova,” they will probably be expecting a flavor profile somewhere on the sweeter side of things. You don’t want to be accused of false advertising now, do you?

pavlova 5

pavlova 4

I thought blueberry and almond would be a nice complement to the lemon pudding, so I tried my hand at making a blueberry sauce. The sauce is akin to the blueberry syrup stuff you get at Perkins, uber-sweet, but alright for its function as pancake-dresser. I’ll go with fresh blueberries next time to balance the sweetness.

pavlova 8

pavlova 6

Makin’ records,


Blueberry Lemon Almond Pavlova

An LH original

For the pavlova:

6 egg whites, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups white sugar or caster sugar

pinch cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cornstarch

scant 1/4 teaspoon almond oil or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, to taste

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment, and draw a circle about a foot in diameter on the parchment.

Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy, then gradually add the sugar. GRADUALLY. Let the mixture beat for 30 seconds to a minute after each tablespoon. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Beat in the cornstarch and salt, then fold in the almond oil.

Mound the meringue in the middle of the baking sheet, keeping inside the drawn circle. Smooth it out however you want; the meringue won’t spread out or change shape.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours, checking at 1 hour. The pavlova is done when it moves easily on the baking sheet. (Mine didn’t exactly), but I took it out anyway. It was fine. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet. Transfer to a serving plate.

For the lemon pudding:

Dig a box of off-brand instant lemon pudding out of your cupboard. Follow package directions and refrigerate. You’ll need 2 cups of milk.

For the blueberry sauce:

2 cups blueberries

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon almond extract, to taste

Bring the blueberries, water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of water. Add the cornstarch to the blueberries and  cook until the sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract. Let cool, then refrigerate.

For the candied almond garnish:

Chuck 2 ounces sliced almonds, 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small frying pan. Boil until the water is gone and the almonds look shiny. Transfer to a sheet of waxed paper or parchment, breaking up the pieces. Let cool.

Note: I didn’t like this method; the almonds were chewy instead of crunchy. Try something else. Just Google it. There are way better ways to candy almonds.

To assemble the pavlova:

Move the pavlova from the baking sheet to a serving platter. Top first with the lemon pudding, then with the blueberry sauce, letting the sauce run down the sides of the pavlova. Garnish with candied almonds. To serve, dig in. There is no clean way to do this.

Pipe Dream #120: To Use “When in Rome” As An Excuse To Do Ridiculous Things In Rome

It may be cliché, but I found myself using the phrase “When in Rome” quite often while I was, em, in Rome. It was very liberating. Actually, it was a good phrase to travel by anywhere. Many of these places I will probably never get to visit again, and I tried to have as full an experience as I could.


Favorite Shots: Smile Upon Me

This post is heavy on some geeky history, so if you’re here to see some frou frou cupcakes, think again. You have been warned.

When I visited Germany in December, one of  the neat historical places we stopped was Nürnberg Castle. It was kind of like a time share property for the Holy Roman Empire. Visiting dignitaries would stay there if they were passing through, and all the local nobles would donate their best furniture to deck out the castle. After the emperor (or whoever was staying) left, all the furniture would be returned.

The castle had a 50 meter well dug straight into sandstone (it probably took them ten years), but the most interesting part to me was the double chapel. It is called a “double” chapel because there were two levels, the main level for the nobles, and the lower level for the peasants. There was no direct access to the lower level (which is literally beneath the feet of the upper class) because the nobility thought it horrible to associate at all with the lower class. There was only a big hole in the floor through which the peasants could hear what was going on above them. It is thought that this practice was the beginning of the phrase “to hear mass.”

Technically, though, this is a triple chapel. The above shot was taken from a landing made specially for the emperor, above the nobility level. You can see the face of Christ above the archway there? When viewed from the peasant level, he looks like he is frowning. When viewed from the nobility level, he has a straight face. And when viewed from the emperor level, he is smiling. So weird! But what interesting architecture.

Sidenote: this whole situation is so far from how the church is supposed to function. Jesus loves everyone the same, and no one has limited access to him.

Someday this will all be made right,



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