All Winter long I dream about Summer and the fresh fruit I can enjoy while the weather is hot. Here on the farm we have a lot of fruit growing near the house. There is the strawberry fields, cherry orchard, and acres of blueberries. Just a short walk away is even more options like peaches and berries ripening in the sun.
To say we eat a lot of fruit would be an understatement.
My husband's favorite by far would be the melons. He grows a mean patch of canteloupe. I, on the other hand, look forward to picking out the first watermelons of the season from the field.
Usually I rinse, stem or slice and then we devour. Not because we want to, but knowing that the sweet and plump fruit that ripened in the sun will soon start to get mushy or weepy after just a few hours. But, I just got a new bowl set from Bed Bath and Beyond, a Good Cook 3-Piece Pro Fresh Cut Fruit Bowl.
I have fallen in love with it's versatility. Perfect for U-pick strawberries, draining frozen cherries and reserving the juice, or even storing cut fruit. An inner red bowl allows the fruit to drain and not sit in it's own juices. The green bowl holds all the liquid in, with easy to grab handles and a useful pour spout. Remember I mentioned saving the cherry juice for thickening to use in fresh fruit pies? The third peice is a lid to keep everything safe for your next picnic or family reunion, or while storing in the fridge.
You can find these handy fruit bowls exclusively at Bed Bath and Beyond.
Deciding on a recipe to show off fresh fruit was easy! I wanted to make a Pavlova.
Have you every tried Pavlova? Originally a New Zealand confection made to honor the ballerina Anna Pavlova, it has spread and become equally as popular with Australians. A simple and lightly sweetened baked meringue topped with sweetened whipped cream and top with fresh fruit of your choice.
Begin by making some guides for the meringue. I grabbed a round container about the size I wanted and traced it onto a sheet of parchment. Flip the parchment over and you have a place for your meringue.
It's meringue and what would that be without eggs? It is easiest to create a meringue with room temperature eggs. Then get crackin' and get them separated.
The yolks will be a little left out. Might I suggest a custard? Or homemade ice cream?
I let the stand mixer do all the heavy lifting....
Then add in the lemon juice and other ingredients. Again, whip it good. (Na, na, na, na, na!")
You can whip out a pasty bag or ziplock if you prefer, but I am fine and dandy with a big spoon. Meringue doesn't bite. Shape it to your circles and then use the back of a spoon to make a little hollow in the center of each one. This will be where the whipping cream and fruit go.
I should mention that the only other time I have had homemade Pavlova, my Mom made it. She didn't make these little mini versions, but a giant full baking sheet sized circle. It was quite impressing... and took a REALLY long time to dry properly. Meringue that hasn't dried all the way will become chewy. No good. Properly dired Pavlova will come away from the parchment easily and be very brittle and light.
See directions below on baking and cooling. The most fun part, of course, is topping. I like mine with a wide assortment of seasonal berries and then I blended up a little sweetened mango puree to spoon over the top.
Fabulous! The perfect way to enjoy fresh cut fruit.
You Will Need:
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Princess Cake & Cookie Emulsion (or vanilla extract, if you prefer)
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
- 1 1/4 c. heavy cream
- 2-3 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
- 1 mango
- 1 - 2 Tbsp. water to achieve pourable consistency
- seasonal fruit, sliced
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Draw 4 circles on a sheet pan cut parchment. Turn the parchment over.
In a stand mixer, whip the eggs with a pinch of salt for 2 minutes. Then add the lemon juice and gradually beat in the sugar. Then add the cornstarch and flavoring. Beat for an additional 4 minutes on high until you achieve stiff peaks.
Using your parchment as a guide, divide the meringue between your circles. I used a large spoon to help even out the tops and go around the edges. Then I pushed an indent in the middle of each of my meringue piles. Sprinkle the tops with a little powdered sugar and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200 degrees and bake for an additional 1 hour 30 minutes. Then turn off the oven and let the meringues cool completely with the oven closed.
When the meringues are cool, prepare the whipped cream by beating the cream, vanilla bean paste and confectioners sugar together on high. Puree the mango and enough water to make the mango pourable. Fill each meringue with whipped cream, top with fresh cut fruit and then drizzle with mango puree.
Serve immediately. Enjoy!
How would you top your Pavlova?