For Memorial Day Weekend I took a little road trip to Michigan to visit my boyfriend’s family. And by little I mean approximately one hour and 45 minutes away. After living in the city, this seems like quite a distance in the car… anyways, after long car rides I typically find myself in the exact same place. The bathroom.
(They didn’t call me little tank on spring break for nothing).
Doesn’t the saying go that your best ideas and inspiration come to you in the bathroom, or is it the shower? Either way, the best idea for week 22’s cake came to me while I was using the good ol’ WC. (Side note, my boyfriend’s mom stocks her bathroom with the best reading materials). Staring up at me from the pile of magazines was the most perfect, fluffy, cloud like puff of Summer Pavlova with Fresh Grilled Berries. This was the cake.
I ran out of the bathroom, Food & Wine June issue in hand, to share my brilliant find. My discovery was met with one singular question, is it really a cake? According to Wikipedia, yes it is. After that was cleared up, I got to work on the cake. Warning, this recipe is a long haul.
Pavlova’s are a traditional Australian cake, usually prepared for Christmas celebrations, which is actually kind of funny because their summer is our winter and in the U.S. pavlovas tend to pop up on magazines during warmer months.
The recipe called for eight egg whites beaten with sugar and vanilla to form stiff peaks then slow baked in the oven to form a crispy outer shell with a yielding marshmallow like center.
Egg whites are truly magical. They contain all of the protein of the egg and when mechanically beaten the structure transforms from a viscous liquid to soft puffy mounds, AKA meringue. I don’t know what it is about this process, but I’m in awe every time. The transformation is beautiful and I found myself giddy with the results. My boyfriend’s mom was my kitchen witness and she can vouch that I was actually squealing over my stiff meringue peaks.
After the pavlova cake was baked and cooled in the oven (v important step because it keeps the meringue from deflating), I whipped up some strawberry jam and heavy cream and threw the strawberry and rhubarb pieces on the grill to caramelize and get nice and juicy. The cake was topped off with the grilled and cooled fruit compote and let me tell ya, this cake was so freaking good.
Bring it to the next barbecue, picnic, summer party, whatever occasion that calls for cake you need to have a pavlova in your life.
Final thoughts on grilled fruit pavlova:
- So fluffy.
- Swap the raspberry in the recipe for rhubarb while it’s in season.
- Shout out to Dom for eating and photographing my cake this week.