Strawberry Jam Pavlovas

Time needed: 2 hours hands on, 4 hours inactive

Makes: 24 Pavlovas

(gluten free)

These mini Pavlovas are lovely, unexpected, and just a little edgy. Ethereal, light, vanilla meringues made with aquafaba (chickpea water!) come together like magic (and without the slightest hint of “beaniness”). For the jam in these Pavlovas, we went straight to the experts. Our friends at Flour Child (Pg 46) make some of the best jam around, and this homemade strawberry number spiked with a touch of black pepper is the star of the show. A dollop of tangy whipped cream and a drizzle of balsamic reduction tie it all together to make one unforgettable dessert.

Aquafaba Vanilla Meringues

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

⅔ cup | 150 g aquafaba (canned chickpea liquid), from one or two chilled 15-oz | 430-g cans

chickpeas

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp | 230 g sugar

Strawberry Black Pepper Jam

2 pt | 350 g fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp | 80 g organic cane sugar

½ lemon

½ split vanilla bean, seeds scraped

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnishing

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp plus 1½ tsp | 20 g Canna-Coconut Oil

 


Balsamic Glaze

1 cup | 265 g balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp packed brown sugar

Yogurt Cream

1 cup | 240 g heavy cream

1 cup | 240 g plain full-fat Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp honey


Specialty Equipment

Pastry bag and round tip

To make the aquafaba vanilla meringues: Preheat the oven to 200°F [95°C]. Line two baking

sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla. Set aside. Remove the chickpeas from the fridge and strain them, reserving the liquid (a.k.a. aquafaba).

Reserve the beans for another use. Place ⅔ cup [150 g] of the liquid in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the aquafaba for 1 to 2 minutes on medium-high speed until the liquid becomes thickened and foamy.

With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar in two to three increments. Once all the sugar is added, crank up the speed to high and beat for about 9 minutes until the mixture triples in volume and holds stiff peaks. Turn the speed to low and add the cornstarch mixture. Return the speed to high for about 30 seconds until you have an airy, glossy meringue that holds a stiff peak when you remove the whisk attachment.

Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag with a round tip (Ateco 805) or resealable plastic bag with a corner snipped off to form a ½-in [12-mm] opening. Pipe tight 2-in [5-cm] coils onto the prepared sheets. Continue piping on top of each circle, just around the outer edge, to create a little wall surrounding it. Leave about 3 in [7.5 cm] between each meringue so they have room to spread as they bake.

Bake the meringues for 2½ to 3½ hours until they are completely dry, hard to the touch, and peel easily off the baking sheets. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Transfer the meringues to an airtight container as soon as they are cooled so they stay dry and crisp. (If you leave them out too long and they become sticky, return them to a 200°F [95°C] oven until they dry out again.) Meanwhile, prepare the other components.

To make the strawberry black pepper jam: Place a small plate in the freezer. In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries and sugar.

Using a sharp paring knife, peel the half lemon in long strips. Cut and scrape away as much of the white pith as possible. Cut the strips crosswise as thinly as you can. Add the lemon strips to the berries in the pan, along with the vanilla bean, pepper, and honey. Mix well, squishing the berries with your hands and distributing everything evenly.

Place the pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil, 8 to 10 minutes. Adjust the heat to medium-low and cook the mixture for 20 to 30 minutes until it is thickened, jammy, and reduced by about half (a little less than 1 cup [about 300 g]). Stir occasionally, scraping down the sides of the pan with a rubber spatula. Don’t skim off the foam.

When your jam looks ready, remove the plate from the freezer and drop a spoonful of hot jam on it to check for doneness. Let it cool for 1 to 2 minutes to test the texture. If the jam is done, it will gel up. If it is too runny, continue cooking for a few minutes more and test again.

Remove and discard the vanilla bean (remember to squeeze out all the goodness first!). Measure ½ cup [150 g] of jam into a liquid measuring cup. Add the canna-coconut oil and stir vigorously until melted and well combined. Transfer this medicated jam to an airtight container and clearly label it. Keep refrigerated until the Pavlovas are ready to assemble. Reserve the remaining jam for other uses (stir it into seltzer with a splash of cream to make a homemade Italian soda). It can be infused or left unmedicated—dealer’s choice. Transfer it to an airtight container, label it, and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

To make the balsamic glaze: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a syrupy consistency thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

To make the yogurt cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream, yogurt, and honey. Beat for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

To assemble: Take a meringue and fill the well with 1 tsp [6 g] of strawberry black pepper jam. Top with a dollop of whipped yogurt cream and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Finish with a crack of black pepper. Enjoy!

Note:

To save some time, dress up store-bought jam instead of making it from scratch: In a small saucepan over low heat, warm ½ cup [150 g] of strawberry jam until it is a pourable consistency. Remove the pan from the heat and add the canna-coconut oil and a pinch of black pepper. Whisk vigorously until thoroughly combined. Or, use Flour Child’s medicated jam for a stronger dose.

Make-ahead tip:

The aquafaba meringues can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks, longer if you include food-grade desiccant packets in the container. The strawberry black pepper jam can be made ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks. The balsamic glaze be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one day. The yogurt cream can be made and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one day.

Emerald contributor since March 2012

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