This Easter we didn't go home to my folks place in Baroda. Instead we decided to stay put in Gurgaon and have our very own Easter celebration with an Easter lunch at PVC 1.
I like nothing more than to have friends over for a meal. It gives me an excuse to cook up a storm in the kitchen and try out new things. I decided on an uncomplicated menu which was predominantly vegetarian, since both my husband and sister-in- law, as well as one of our guests are vegetarian. There was a spicy bean salad, tandoori mushrooms and aloo, a mixed vegetable curry, rajma, pulao and, in keeping with tradition, a Goan chicken curry my mum would have been proud of.
We kicked things off with a pitcher of citrus-vodka cocktail which was a combination of cilantro and mint leaves, vodka, lemon juice, white wine, mint flavored syrup, club soda and a lot of ice. A great boozy drink for a warm afternoon, and one that seemed to get everyone in a very happy mood.
Lunch went down well, with things being polished off-the hubby complained that he could not move and our friend, Anuj, in true Joey style, wished for a pair of pregnancy pants because dessert was still to come! And it was everyone's favorite- Pavlova.
I have made Pavlova loads of times when we have friends over- its a favorite and it is the perfect dessert for a summer lunch. Its light and deceptively sinful- I say deceptively because its not heavy and rich, so you think you can eat just that little bit more!
Many friends have been asking me for ages to post the recipe on the blog so here goes- My Summer Pavlova...
First the ingredients....
6 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
I prefer to make the base a day ahead. I find the pavlova turns out much better that way.
300 ml cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 mango (cubed)
cup strawberries (sliced)
2 kiwis chopped
This recipe is really easy and not too fussy, but there is one very very important rule that you absolutely have to follow, no matter how lazy you might be. And that is make sure everything that touches the egg whites, from the beater blades to the mixing bowl, is absolutely clean and dry.
Preheat your oven to 120°C.
Line a baking tray with a baking sheet. I have an OTG, so I also add a few sheets of newspaper below the baking sheet to make sure that the base of the pavlova doesn't burn (I do this from past horrors of having the perfect pavlova with a disgustingly burnt base).
Using an electric beater (unless you like to do things the hard way and have really really strong muscles), beat egg whites till they form stiff peaks. Add a pinch of salt and beat while slowly adding the 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time and then finally the cornflour. Keep beating until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture has a glossy sheen. Then add the white vinegar and vanilla extract and mix well with a spatula or with an electric beater on a slow speed for 30 seconds.
Tip the egg mixture onto the lined tray. Flatten out slightly, making a circle of about 9"-10" with a slight well in the center. Place in oven.
Now most recipes ask you to reduce the temperature to 100°C after about 5 minutes. But since I have an OTG, and from experience, I reduce the temperature to about 80-90 and bake for about 20 minutes and them I further lower the temperature to 70°C and bake till the crust has a pale pinkish brown color or a pale egg shell color.
Once done, turn off the oven and let the pavlova base cool in the oven for a few hours. The crust will crisp up as the base cools, while the inside will be fluffy like a marshmallow. Once the base in completely cool, place in an airtight container and store in the fridge.
A few hours before you plan to serve the pavlova (I keep a minimum 5-6 hour margin so the cream has a chance to soak into the base slightly) whip the cream with vanilla and sugar till very soft peaks form. Pour the cream mixture onto the pavlova base and decorate with the fruit. Cool in fridge until you're ready to serve.
From the image, you will see that we were quite shameless and added much more cream than meant to. The amount mentioned in the recipe is the right amount. But it was Easter so what can I say :)