Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cloud Atlas Pavlova

Cloud Atlas Pavlova
In my attempt to bake around the world this year, I had always intended to make pavlova for New Zealand. I have not yet read my book for New Zealand, but wanted to make something that looked somewhat cloudlike to celebrate the making of one of my favorite books into a film - Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.

A pavlova is a large meringue, baked so that the outside is crisp but the inside remains slightly chewy.  It is traditionally served with whipped cream and fresh passion fruit.  You can't get fresh passion fruit where I live; it is too fragile and has too short of a shelf life for grocery stores to stock it (I should know, I asked several).  I wanted that tart/sweet flavor, so I stalked several ethnic markets to try to find a canned or frozen equivalent.  I relied on Alton Brown's recipe, and made a few tweaks as described below.

La Unica (Supermercado) had passion fruit nectar which is tasty but would need to be turned into a syrup to be usable in this dessert.  They also had frozen passion fruit pulp, without seeds, intended for smoothies.  I let some thaw out and stirred it into the freshly whipped cream.

My pavlova texture is a little more like sponge (kitchen or dish sponge, not lovely cake sponge) than I would have liked, but I'm 100% confident that is my fault for using Splenda instead of sugar.  Sugar really does have certain chemical properties that can't be easily replicated.  But I wanted people in my household to eat it.  If I were making this dessert for other people, I would just use the sugar.

But still - the passion fruit whipped cream, topped with strawberries and mango - amazing and delicious.  We ate it after seeing all three hours of Cloud Atlas in the theater, and I was struck by how this dessert represents many geographical areas, just as the book/movie take place in six different time periods.

I'll leave you with the preview for the film, in case you have been living under a rock. 

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